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Hundred Years 





One of the Bishops of the M. E. Church. 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1876, by 

In the Office of the Librarian of Ciongress at Washington. 


'' I ^HIS little volume is not designed to be a 
History of Methodism, but to give the 
general reader a glance at what Methodism is, 
and what it has accomplished during the cent- 
ury. The writer refers those who wish to ob- 
tain a more detailed account of its rise and 
progress to such works as Tyerman's " Life 
of Wesley," and to Stevens's interesting and 
admirable volumes. 

For the statistics of the various branches 
of the Church, he is indebted to their own 
historians, or to leading members of those 
Churches who have kindly furnished them. 

The reader is specially requested to note 
that the Centennial Period is counted from 
the close of 1775 to that of 1875; the facts 
and numbers being taken from the respective 
reports for those years. 


• ♦■> 



'' I ^HE occurrence of the Centennial Anniversary 
-^ of the Nation's Birth revives the memories of 
the past. The actors of 1776 are roused as if by 
magic wand, and step upon the stage again. Scene 
after scene flits before us, recalHng the revolutionary 
struggle from Lexington to Yorktown. We listen 
to the voices of the old patriots, and to the tones 
of the old bell, ringing, " Proclaim liberty through- 
out the land to all the inhabitants thereof." Would 
there were some skillful workman to mend that bell, 
that our children and children's children might 
listen to its sound ! Orators, statesmen, poets, phi- 
losophers, inventors, and discoverers pass in long 
procession before us. The teeming millions come 
from farm and shop, from land and sea. The forests 
turn into farms and the deserts into gardens, and 
songs of joy announce that oppressed colonies have 
become a triumphant nation, acknowledging no 
superior on the globe. 

8 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Nor has the world been unmoved. CiviHzatlon has 
extended her triumpRs. The islands of the sea and 
the inland deserts and mountains have been explored 
and measured. The brave mariner has battled the 
icebergs of the North, and the intrepid traveler has 
dared the heat and dangers of the tropics. The 
railroad has spanned the continents and tunneled 
the Alpine mountains. The telegraph has cabled 
the ocean and joined the extremities of the earth. 
Africa and Asia have parted their borders, and per- 
mitted the Mediterranean to mingle its waters with 
the Indian Ocean, and the " high way of the East " 
has been opened. Despotisms have fallen, and mon- 
archies have been remodeled. Republican ideas 
have spread eastward and westward. Machinery- 
has multiplied the« power of labor, and inventions 
have added to human comfort. The advancement 
of science ; the diffusion of literature ; the establish- 
ment of public schools ; the endowment of universi- 
ties ; the enlargement of libraries and museums ; the 
opening of hospitals ; the care of orphans ; the teach- 
ing the blind to read and the dumb to speak ; the 
education and elevation of woman, giving her access 
to employments and professions ; the myriad issues 
of the daily press, with its news from every quarter 
of the globe ; the systems of express and cheap post- 
ages ; the furnishing houses and streets with water 
and gas ; the phosphoric match ; the electric fire 

Prelimirtary Remarks. 9 

and burglar alarm ; the sewing-machine and kindred 
appliances; the photograph; the spectroscope, which 
makes us neighbors to the stars ; the partial separa- 
tion of Church and State ; the freedom of religious 
worship; the multiplication of religious edifices; the 
establishment and growth of Sunday-schools, with 
the system of international lessons indoctrinating 
youth with the ideas of a universal brotherhood 
and foreshadowing international fraternity ; the 
emancipation of serfs, the striking of manacles from 
millions of slaves, and transmuting chattels into citi- 
zens — all these are but faint outlines of the manifold 
triumphs of the century, which might well startle 
old Gahleo from his slumbers to cry again, " But it 
does move, though ! " 

In these great movements America claims her 
part. In some of them she has been a chief actor. 
She has given the world the example of a free 
Church in a free State. She has realized the grand 
ideas of " liberty, equality, and fraternity ; " older 
nations are but beginning to follow the path on 
which she boldly stepped ere the morning light 
had dispelled the shadows. In material progress 
and in inventive genius the nations recognize her 
power. Her grain is feeding, her cotton is clothing, 
her oil is lighting, and her precious metals are 
enriching millions of people of the world. Well 
may she invite all nations to rejoice in her cen- 

lo A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

tennial birth-day, for she " is the friend of all, the 
enemy of none." 

But the material rests upon the immaterial — the 
seen issues from the unseen. The patriot and phi- 
lanthropist well know that civil freedom must 
rest on moral purity. True morality receives its 
inspiration and strength from a spiritual religion. 
For its law it bows at Sinai, and for its hopes it 
listens to the sweet whispers that float over the sea 
of Galilee. 

General Washington, in his farewell address, well 
said: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead 
to political prosperity, religion and morality are in- 
dispensable supports. In vain would that man claim 
the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert 
thece great pillars of human happiness, these firmest 
props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere 
poHtician, equally with the pious man, ought to re- 
spect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace 
all their connection with private and public felicity. 
Let it simply be asked, where is the security for 
property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of 
reHgious obligation desert the oaths which are the 
instruments of investigation in courts of justice? 
And let us with caution indulge the supposition, 
that morality can be maintained without religion. 
Whatever may be conceded to the influence of re- 
fined education on minds of peculiar structure, rea- 

Preliminary Remarks. ii 

son and experience both forbid us to expect that 
national moraHty can prevail in exclusion of religous 

Any review of the century would be incomplete 
without a survey of the work of the Churches. 
Rapid as has been the increase of population, still 
more rapid has been the increase of membership 
in the Churches. On the first wave of population, 
as it rolled westward over plain or mountain, floated 
the banner of the cross, and the voice of its herald 
was heard before the sound of the hammer in the 
erection of the pioneer tent or cabin had died away. 
The emigrant from distant lands has been met with 
the Bible in his own language, and has been in- 
vited to the sanctuary, the " house of prayer for all 
nations." In the midst of all the excitements of 
business and the pursuit of pleasure, the quiet and 
calmness of the holy Sabbath has stilled the factory 
and the mart, and the weary and exhausted work- 
man has heard the divine invitation, " Come unto 
me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest." 

This result has been achieved, not in an age of 
apathy or indifference, or by the exercise of repress- 
ive power. The spirit of free inquiry has been 
abroad. The old has been called in question by the 
new. The spirit of skepticism has suggested doubts 
upon all subjects, and has spared no topic, human or 

12 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

divine. Histories have been challenged and mir 
acles assailed. The votaries of science have tried to 
construct a universe without a God. Yesterday the 
material alone was magnified, and immateriality, 
spirituality, and immortality, were pronounced to be 
fancies of an excited brain. To-day the world is re- 
ported to be full of spirits that not only " peep and 
mutter," but rap and startle, and utter strange mes- 
sages to credulous inquirers. Error, ever changing, 
with chameleon hue and protean form, discomfited 
or vanquished, vanishes but for a moment to reap- 
pear in fresh disguise. 

Meantime the " truth as it is in Jesus " pursues 
its steady way, enlightening the ignorant, comfort- 
ing the afflicted, and throwing the light of immor- 
tality into the caverns of the tomb. Bible societies 
have been the glory of the century, translating God's 
word into two hundred languages, and seeking to 
place a copy in the hand of every human being. 
Missionaries have visited every heathen land, and 
half a million of converts are singing the notes of 
holy triumph. 

In this work each denomination has performed its 
part, and will rehearse its story in its own way. Be 
it our task to write only of one — the youngest of all 
the leading families of the Church of Christ — a cen- 
tury and a half ago "to fortune and to fame un- 

The Rise of Methodism. 1 3 



'TT^HE first Methodist Society was organized in 
-^ London, near the close of 1739. Centuries 
before, a sect of physicians had been called Meth- 
odists, and in the previous century we nnd the 
phrase "New Methodists" applied much as "New 
School" in our day, indicating increased religious 
activity and more liberal sentiments. The epithet 
was applied, however, in derision, to Mr. Wesley 
and a few young men associated with him in Ox- 
ford University. So systematic were they in their 
studies, their habits, their devotions, and their works 
of benevolence ; so scrupulous in their redemption 
of time, and so self-denying and earnest in their 
practices, that the gayer young men called them 
Methodists. The founder of the Society, the Rev. 
John Wesley, was born June 14, 1703, in the parish 
of Epworth, Lincolnshire. He was descended from 
a long line of able ministers. His father was rector 
of the parish church ; a man of more than ordinary 
mental power, an able writer, but a poor financier. 
With a large family and a small salary he was con- 
stantly embarrassed. His mother, Susannah Wes- 

14 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ley, was the daughter of Rev. Dr. Annesley, an In- 
dependent minister* of marked abiHty. She was a 
woman of strong intellect, fine culture, deep piety, 
and rare domestic qualities. Few such women have 
ever graced our earth. She was the mother of nine- 
teen children, nine of whom died in their infancy, 
and though by scanty means, she was compelled per- 
sonally to attend to household duties, yet she dili- 
gently superintended the education of her children. 
She had regular school hours, opened with prayer, 
and in addition she conversed privately with each 
one every week on a personal religious life, closing 
the interview with appropriate prayer. With all 
this, she read the best religious works, and main- 
tained a correspondence with her sons when absent 
at the university. When John, her sixth son, was 
seven years of age the parsonage was destroyed by 
fire, and he was barely rescued. In her journal she 
writes, " I do intend to be more particularly careful 
of the soul of this child, that Thou hast so mercifully 
provided for, than ever I have been." She began to 
teach him, as she did her other children, at five years 
of age. Under her tuition he made remarkable prog- 
ress, and was early distinguished for demanding a 
reason for every thing, and an unwillingness to yield 
his convictions unless such reason was given. 

In his eleventh year, through the kindness of the 
Duke of Buckingham, he was admitted into the 

The Rise of Methodism. 15 

Charter House School, in London, and enjoyed the 
tuition of able instructors. In his seventeenth year 
he was elected a student in Christ College, Ox- 
ford, where he continued until after his ordination 
as a minister, at the age of twenty-four. In the 
year following he was elected a fellow of Lincoln 
College. For several years he acted as tutor, and 
pursued his studies in divinity. He was early rec- 
ognized as one of the foremost students in the uni- 
versity, and was distinguished for his pure classical 
taste. He was exceedingly methodical and logical 
in all his performances. He gathered around him 
a number of thoughtful and earnest young men, 
among whom was his brother Charles, the subse- 
quent poet of Methodism, and the eloquent and 
untiring George Whitefield. They read the Greek 
Testament daily, conversed upon religious topics, 
formed plans for mutual improvement, and engaged 
in works of mercy and benevolence. They system- 
atically visited the prisoners in the jails, and the 
poor in the lanes and alleys of the town, instruct- 
ing and relieving them according to their means. 

After this, for a short period Mr. Wesley acted as 
curate for his father, but was unwilling to bind him- 
self to assume the active duties of a parish. As if 
in anticipation of his future, his heart then yearned 
for a larger sphere of usefulness. In 1735 the infant 
colony of Georgia having been founded by a number 

i6 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

of gentlemen, among whom was Governor Ogle- 
thorpe, Wesley was requested to become a missiona- 
ry to the colonists and to the Indians. After prayer- 
ful consideration, hoping to be useful to both classes, 
he accepted the invitation. During his passage he 
was ceaselessly active in doing good, carefully in- 
structing all who came within his influence, not neg- 
lecting a little colored cabin-boy, to whom he gave 
a number of lessons. In the colony he held services 
not only in English, but also occasionally read 
prayers in German and French. His strictness of 
religious life, and especially his severity of religious 
discipline, excited against him the opposition of 
leading families, and becoming embarrassed by them 
in his ministry, in about two years he returned to 
England. , 

"During his voyage to America, Wesley became 
acquainted with some Moravians who were fellow- 
passengers. On one occasion, during a severe storm, 
when death seemed to be imminent, they manifested 
so much tranquillity, and even joy, that it produced 
a powerful impression on his mind, and he felt that 
he had not attained to their religious experience. 
Subsequently, in Georgia, one of their ministers said 
to him, " Does the Spirit of God bear witness with 
your spirit that you are a child of God?" The 
question troubled him, and he could not answer 
with confidence. He frequently attended their 

The Rise of Methodism. ly 

services, witnessed the daily life and devotion of 
their ministers, and admired their apostolic simplic- 
ity and purity. Dissatisfied with his own compara- 
tive lack of faith, we find in his journal, on his return 
to England, this record : " I went to America to con- 
vert the Indians ; but O, who shall convert me ! . . . 
I have a fair, summer religion ; I can talk well ; nay, 
and believe myself, while no danger is near : but let 
death look me in the face, and my spirit is troubled, 
nor can I say, ' To die is gain.' " 

On his return to London he attended the social 
meetings of the Moravians, and both he and hia 
brother formed the acquaintance of Peter Boehler, 
a leading Moravian, and subsequently a bishop. 
They greatly enjoyed his society and conversation, 
and were profited by his experience. John's brother 
Charles first attained that clear religious assurance 
which both sought. Possibly owing to his logical 
cast of mind, and his determination not to be sat- 
isfied without the fullest evidence, the doubts and 
anxieties of John were not so soon removed. While, 
however, seeking and praying for clearer light, and 
for full assurance, he was so earnest in his ministry 
that thousands attended his services, many of whom 
were awakened. One evening in May, 1738, he at- 
tended a meeting of the Moravians. While one of 
them was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to 
the Romans, and while he was listening to the de- 

1 8 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

scription of the change which God works in the 
penitent heart, fie says : " I felt my heart strangely 
warmed ; I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, 
for salvation ; and an assurance was given me that 
he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved 
me from the law of sin and death. I began to pray 
with all my might for those who had in a more es- 
pecial manner despitefully used me, and persecuted 
me ; I then testified openly to all there what I now 
first felt in my heart." He was then nearly thirty- 
five years of age, an accomplished scholar, an acute 
theologian, and an able writer. Then properly com- 
menced that wonderful career which closed only 
with his death, at the advanced period of eighty- 
eight years. 

That sumnfer he visited the continent of Europe, 
extending his journey to Herrnhut, that he might 
witness the discipline and order of the Moravians^ 
and converse with their leading men. He carefully 
examined into their usages and institutions, and the 
agencies which they employed, both for their own 
spiritual benefit and for the spread of the truth. 
He also became acquainted with Count Zinzendorf, 
and other able ministers. He visited Halle to see 
the devoted Francke, and to inspect his Orphan 
House, his religious publications, and his general 
plans of usefulness. That visit, probably, influenced 
his subsequeit course, and shaped, to some extent, 

The Rise of Methodism. 19 

his own plans : for immediately on his return to 
England we find him preparing to establish an 
orphan house, and to engage more actively in relig- 
ious publications. 

In the mean time his colaborer, the Rev. George 
Whitefield, had been preaching to immense audi- 
ences with remarkable power. His brother Charles, 
also, had been preachii g with such earnestness that 
the churches were crowded, and the clergy, becom- 
ing offended, had closed their doors against him. 
The day after John's return from Germany to En- 
gland he makes the following record : *'' I began to 
declare in my own country the glad tidings of salva- 
tion, preaching three times, and afterward expound- 
ing to the large company in the Minories. On Mon- 
day I rejoiced to meet our little society, which now 
consists of thirty-two persons. The next day I went 
to the condemned felons in Newgate, and offered 
them a free salvation. In the evening I went to 
a society in Bear Yard and preached repentance 
and remission of sins." The following Sabbath he 
preached at St. Ann's, and twice at St. John's, 
Clei ken well, and adds, "I fear they will bear with 
me no longer." Though his doctrine was that of 
the Church — though he was a minister in regular 
standing, and had shown his devotion by his mis- 
sion to America — and though his manner was calm 
though forcible, yet the churches were soon closed 

20 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

against him also. Great crowds, stirred by his clear 
and earnest pres'entation of religious truth, followed 
him wherever he preached. Shut out of the churches 
he visited prisons and hospitals, and preached daily 
in them, as well as to small societies which met in 
private places. 

The year 1739 opened in a remarkable manner. 
He, his brother Charles, Mr. Whitefield, and three 
other ministers, with about sixty brethren, held a 
watch-night, or love-feast, in Fetter Lane. De- 
scribing it, he says : About three in the morning 
they were continuing instant in prayer, the power 
of God came mightily upon them, insomuch that 
many cried out for exceeding joy, and many fell to 
the ground. As soon as they had recovered a little 
^rom the awe^nd amazement which the presence of 
the Divine Majesty had inspired, they broke out with 
one voice, " We praise Thee, O God ; we acknowledge 
Thee to be the Lord." On the 5th of January 
seven ministers met, and continued in fasting and 
prayer until three o'clock, when they separated, 
''with the full conviction that God was about to do 
great things among us." At that time, as is ad- 
mitted by many ecclesiastical writers, the condition 
of the Church of England, and of the people gener- 
ally, was very low. Infidelity was widely diffused, 
and a general disregard for religion prevailed among 
the masses. Many of the clergy scarcely maintained 

The Rise of Methodistn. 21 

even a show of morality. From such parties the 
earnest ministers met with great opposition, but 
many of the common people heard them gladly. 


Mr. Whitefield went to Bristol, and finding the 
pulpits closed against him, began to preach in the 
open air, in the midst of the collieries of Kings- 
wood, and thousands gathered to hear him. The 
work assumed such magnitude that he sent for Mr. 
Wesley, who had hesitated as to the propriety of 
outdoor preaching. He then, however, saw both 
its necessity and its value, and following Mr. White- 
field's example, commenced a similar career. Re- 
turning to London he preached in Moorfields, Ken- 
nington Commons, and elsewhere, to congregations 
variously estimated at from ten to fifty thousand. 
The poorest and lowest classes of the people list- 
ened with deep interest, and multitudes dated from 
these services the commencement of their religious 


Near the close of this year, as we have stated, the 
first Methodist Society was formed. Its origin Mr. 
Wesley thus describes : " In the latter end of the 
year 1739 eight or ten persons came to me in Lon- 
don, and desired that I would spend some time with 

22 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

them in prayer, and advise them how to flee from 
the wrath to come." For this purpose he set apart 
Thursday evening in each week. By a strange coin- 
cidence, to say the least, this was the same evening 
that his mother had set aside to converse with him, 
during his boyhood, in reference to his soul. He tells 
us that twelve came the first evening, forty the next^ 
and soon a hundred. This was the beginning of or- 
ganized Methodist Societies. The same year Wesley 
laid the foundation, in Bristol, of the first Methodist 
chapel : he also rented, in London, a building called 
the Foundry, which he used for religious worship. 

While thus engaged in preaching, in visiting, in 
organizing Societies, and in securing places of wor- 
ship, John and Charles Wesley published their first 
volume of hymns and sacred poems. Some of the 
earliest editions contained not only the hymns, but 
the music also, on opposite pages, in copper-plate 
engraving, and on the title-page we find " for the 
voice, harpsichord, and organ." Thus they ante- 
dated the improvements supposed to belong to 
modern times, and showed their love for music, 
instrumental as well as vocal. 


Congregations and Societies increased rapidly, 
not only in London and Bristol, but in various other 
parts of England. Mr. Wesley, being obliged to 

The Rise of Methodism. 23 

visit different localities, selected some of his ablest 
young men to watch over the societies in his ab- 
sence. One of these, Thomas Maxfield, began 
preaching to the congregation in London, which 
Mr. Wesley hearing of, hastened home to stop the 
disorder. His aged mother, however, who had heard 
Mr. Maxfield preach, cautioned him, saying, "Take 
care what you do with respect to that young man, 
for he is as surely called of God to preach as you 
are. Examine what have been the fruits of his 
preaching, and hear him for yourself." Mr. Wesley 
did so, and felt convinced that God had truly called 
him to that work. Thus, contrary to all his pre- 
conceived opinions, he was led, though with great 
reluctance, to this apparent violation of ecclesias- 
tical order. Thus was also introduced into modern 
Christendom a power, the influence of which has 
been steadily increasing. Prior to that time, how- 
ever, there were a few instances of lay preaching in 
the societies which were connected with the Mora- 
vians, in London, and in the early movements in 
Bristol, in which Mr. Wesley and Mr. Whitefield 
were united. 


As chapels were erected, and other expenses in- 
curred, it became necessary to make collections. 
Mr. Wesley appointed a number of men as stewards, 
who received, accounted for, and disbursed these 

24 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

funds. At first, in London and in Bristol, he ap- 
pointed sixteen, bat subsequently reduced the num- 
ber to seven. With these men he conferred as to 
the proper arrangement of the work, and as to the 
needs of the societies. It is a somewhat curious fact 
that for many years all the class moneys which passed 
through their hands were applied to general pur- 
poses, or for the poor, and not for the support of the 
preachers. In later periods, to trustees were assigned 
the superintendence of church property, and the care 
of moneys raised for such purposes, while the stew- 
ards gave special attention to the support of the 
preachers, and to the relief of the necessitous. In 
this division Mr. Wesley showed his clear foresight. 
As the church property was frequently paid for by 
general collectic^ps, he did not wish that the current 
exjbenses should become chargeable against it. This 
plan, except in large cities, has been generally pur- 
sued since that time, and has saved many churches 
from great embarrassment, if not from ruin ; though, 
on the other hand, preachers have not unfrequently 
suffered by failing to receive their support. 

Thus far the care of all the societies rested on 
Mr. Wesley. He visited every member, and trans- 
cribed every name, when in London alone they 
numbered two thousand. But as he was frequently 

The Rise of Methodism. 25 

absent, and as many of his members, being poor, 
often changed their residences, he was unable to sat- 
isfy himself as to their proper deportment. 

"At length," says Wesley, "while we were think- 
ing of quite another thing, we struck upon a method 
for which we have cause to bless God ever since. I 
was talking with several of the society in Bristol (i 5th 
February, 1742) concerning the means of paying the 
debts there, when one [Captain Foy] stood up and 
said, ' Let every member of the Society give a penny 
a week till all are paid.' Another answered, * But 
many of them are poor and cannot afford to do it.* 
* Then,' said he, * put eleven of the poorest with me, 
and if they can give nothing I will give for them as 
well as for myself. And each of you call on eleven 
of your neighbors weekly, receive what they give, 
and make up what is wanting.' It was done. In a 
while some of them informed me, they found such and 
such a one did not live as he ought. It struck me im- 
mediately, * This is the thing, the very thing, we have 
wanted so long.' I called together all the leaders 
of the classes (so we used to term them and their 
companies) and desired that each would make a par- 
ticular inquiry into the behavior of those whom he 
saw weekly. They did so. Many disorderly walk- 
ers were detected. Some turned from the evil of 
their ways. Some were put away from us."* 

* •• Wesley's Works." 

26 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

As this plan took much of the leader's thne, some- 
times persons beiifg absent from home, and others 
being difficult of access, it was soon resolved that the 
class should meet in one place, and that the interview 
should be opened and closed with prayer. These 
leaders met Mr. Wesley and the stewards once a 
week, to pay over the moneys received, and to re- 
port any cases requiring aid or attention. Such was 
the origin of class-meetings, and of leaders' meetings. 
In addition to this Mr. Wesley visited each member 
personally once every three months, and gave tickets 
to such as were approved. 

Though arising thus apparently by accident, class- 
meetings have accomplished a vast amount of good, 
both by enriching personal experience and by ac- 
customing the members to religious conversation and 
labor. They have developed many a timid, hesitating 
convert into an earnest and active Christian worker, 
and in the absence of ministerial labor, have supplied 
a regular religious service. It must be remarked, 
however, that nearly three years had elapsed before 
they were generally introduced into Mr. Wesley's so- 

itinerancy and conferences. 

As societies and congregations increased in num- 
ber young men were raised up who offered their 
services to Mr. Wesley. For some years he had no 
regular plan of appointments. He sent each one 

The Rise of Methodism. 27 

from town to town where he believed his services 
were most needed. Thus commenced an irregular 
itinerancy. In 1744, five years after his first Society 
was formed, his first Annual Conference met. But 
at this period no circuits were formed, nor any regular 
plan adopted. Each Society was independent of 
any other, though all recognized Mr. Wesley as their 
head. As the early minutes are lost, we do not know 
*ii what year the Societies were properly consolidated. 
But in 1749 the first question asked was, " Can there 
be any such thing as a general union of our Societies 
throughout England?" The answer is, "A proposal 
for this was made above a year ago. The substance 
of this proposal was to regard the Society in London 
as the mother Church ... to send reports to the 
stewards in London . . . and to take a yearly collec- 
tion out of which any pressing society debts might 
be discharged, and any Society suffering persecu- 
tion, or in real distress, might be specially relieved." 
Rejoicing in prospect of such a connection Mr. Wes- 
ley adds, " Being thus united in one body, of which 
Jesus Christ is the Head, neither the world nor the 
devil will be able to separate us in time, or in 

The proposition to make the society in London 
the mother Church was not practically accepted, but: 
the conference became the great center. In it the- 
itinerants met, and from it, were distributed from 

28 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

year to year. It became the great bond of union, 
and its annual meetings we^e seasons of great church 
interest, as well as of reli^ous profit. Thus the 
itinerancy became regular. 


In ten years the outlines of the coming Church 
were already prepared. Societies were organized, 
classes formed, leaders appointed, stewards selected, 
love-feasts and quarterly meetings held, Annual 
Conferences assembled, and preachers exchanged. 
All these were the outgrowth of the earnest revival 
spirit, and were instituted to meet a felt want. It 
is remarkable, that to this day, amid all the changes 
and secessions which have taken place, in all its 
branches and in, all countries the Methodist family 
has^ preserved all these outlines. They are a broad 
platform, a ground of common union. Differences 
have arisen as to the mode of appointing leaders 
and stewards, as to who should compose the Annual 
Conferences, and how the preachers should be ap- 
pointed to their work. These have involved ques- 
tions as to a General Conference, as to episcopacy, 
and as to ordination. But in all the points which 
touch the masses of the people directly, Methodism 
is one every-where, for it is simply, in the language 
of Chalmers, " Christianity in earnest." 

British Methodism to lyj^. 29 



A T the Conference in 1746 is found the first men- 
■*- ^ tion of circuits regularly established. There 
were then six in England, and one in Wales. In 
1748 two circuits were added, one of which was in 
Ireland. In 1753 we find the first trace of appoint- 
ments as since that period they have been arranged. 
It embraces the names of thirty-eight preachers, 
nine of whom were in Ireland and two in Wales. 
In 1755 there are three lists: First, the itinerants; 
secondly, the half-itinerants ; and, thirdly, the chief 
local preachers. The half-itinerants were those who 
traveled partially without relinquishing their trades. 
In 1757 Alexander Mather was the first married 
preacher received. He was a man of superior abili- 
ty, but would not consent to travel until provision 
was made for his wife. When asked what would be 
sufficient, he replied, " Four shillings [one dollar] a 
week." The stewards would not allow this, and he 
remained at home. This year, however, the Confer- 
ence promised the stipend, and he started to his 
circuit, a hundred and fifty miles, on foot. This 
was the beginning of an allowance for preachers' 

30 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

wives. In 1767 we find the first complete reports 
of members, bein^ twenty-five thousand nine hun- 
dred and eleven. There were then forty-one cir- 
cuits, and one hundred and four preachers. In 1769 
the first preachers were sent to North America, 
where they reported the opening of a promising field. 
In 1775, the period preparatory to our Centennial 
Era, the reports show fifty-one circuits, one hundred 
and forty preachers, and thirty-eight thousand one 
hundred and forty-five members, of whom three 
thousand one hundred and forty-eight were in 



Mr. Wesley for many years received nothing for his 
own support. His Oxford Fellowship and the pro- 
ceeds from his i^umerous publications, not only sus- 
tained his brother and himself, but enabled him to 
contribute largely to aid his preachers, and to assist 
in various enterprises. He practiced, personally, the 
most rigid economy, and applied all his profits in ad- 
vancing the cause of Christ. His ministers, being un- 
married men, required but little for their sustenance. 
As a few became married, a fund was commenced for 
the aid of their families, and in 1765 a plan was de- 
vised for the support of those who became enfeebled 
in the work. This was to be partly by ministerial 
subscription and partly by collections. In 1769 the 
allowance for a wife was fixed at ten pounds [fifty 

British Methodism to 1775. 31' 

dollars] per annum, and the circuits were assessed 
for this purpose according to their several abilities, 
without reference to where the preacher with his fam- 
ily might be stationed. At that time there were thir- 
ty-one wives provided for, and a small amount was 
distributed for the support of children. The allow- 
ance, however, was so small, and the support of the 
preachers so meager, that many were compelled to 
retire to obtain the necessaries of life. In 1774 the 
married preachers were so straitened that it was re- 
solved to allow twelve pounds for each preacher's 
wife, in addition to lodgings, coal, and candles, or 
fifteen pounds in lieu of them. 


In 1739, before his first Society was formed, Mr. 
Wesley, in conjunction with Mr. Whitefield, had 
commenced a school for the children of the poor 
colliers. The burden, however, of the erection of 
the building and of the support of the school fell 
upon Mr. Wesley. In 1748 he added to the build- 
ings, and opened a school for the education of the 
sons of the preachers. It was also open for the 
children of such of the friends as chose to send 
them. The school was a source of great care and 
anxiety to Mr. Wesley, who personally solicited means 
for its support, and enjoined on his preachers to 
take collections to aid it. It, however, more than 

32 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

compensated him by furnishing him young men 
better trained* for the ministry, and who labored 
actively and zealously to promote the good work. 
Subsequently other institutions were originated for 
higher education. 


While devoting all his time and energies to pro- 
mote the evangelization of Great Britain, it is sad 
to record that Mr. Wesley and his preachers were 
the subjects of severe persecution. It is still more 
sad to be obliged to add, that the persecution was, in 
most cases, stimulated and strengthened by the ap- 
peals of the clergy of the Church of England. They 
denounced him as a heretic and a deceiver ; they 
branded his reputation as if guilty of every crime ; 
they appealed to tJieir people to drive him and his 
preachers from their parishes ; and in various in- 
stances they headed the mobs and encouraged them 
in their dreadful work. Mr. Wesley was frequently 
hooted and hissed by the rabble ; he was pelted and 
covered with mud ; his clothes were torn nearly off 
him ; he was stoned and sometimes severely injured ; 
dragged before magistrates ; the doors and windows 
of the houses in which he lodged were broken ; and 
in some instances his chapels were destroyed. His 
preachers were thrown into prison, and some died 
of the wounds which they received. Thouo-h this 

British Methodism to lyy^. 33 

persecution lasted for several years, we are pained to 
add that, so far as known, the persecuting clergy- 
men were never degraded or severely censured by 
their superiors. But in contrast we are glad to say 
that when he appealed to the Court of King's 
Bench, he and his preachers were always protected. 
The day of persecution, however, finally passed 
away, and he not only outlived the calumnies of his 
accusers, but was reverenced and honored by multi- 
plied thousands wherever he went. 

Before closing this preparatory sketch we should 
add that the members of these Societies did not con- 
stitute a Church. They were still members of the 
Church of England, and received from its clergymen 
the holy sacraments. His assistants were lay preach- 
ers, and were not ordained. Mr. Wesley viewed 
these labors and all his work as supplemental to the 
church services, and intended merely to increase re- 

hgious interest and action throughout the kingdom. 

34 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 



IN North America the rise of Methodism was 
wholly incidental. A few persons connected 
with Mr. Wesley's Societies in England and Ireland 
emigrated to the Western Continent, and among 
them were two local preachers. One of these, 
Robert Strawbridge, from the north of Ireland, 
settled about the year 1764 on Sam's Creek, Mary- 
land. Being an earnest Christian, he commenced 
holding religious services in his own house. Subse- 
quently, at ^ date not specifically determined, he 
erected, with the help of his neighbors, a small log- 
building, about a mile from his house, in which 
services were held. This building does not appear 
ever to have been finished, or to have been deeded 
to the Church. The farm on which it was erected 
passed into other hands, and hence it can scarcely 
be numbered among the Methodist churches. He 
also visited other neighborhoods, and was instru- 
mental in the accomplishment of much good, 
though he does not appear to have organized many 
permanent Societies, or to have erected any per- 
manent churches. Under his ministration, how- 

Rise of Methodism in America, 35 

ever, several were converted who became active and 
zealous preachers. 

About the same time some emigrants from the 

west of Ireland, originally of German stock, settled 

in New York. Their ancestors had been expelled 

from that portion of Germany then known as the 

Palatinate by religious persecution, and had found 

an asylum in Ireland. Being a foreign people, 

they had not very readily assimilated with the 

native population, and their religious condition 

had been greatly neglected. Mr. Wesley visited 

their locality about 1750, and under his ministration 

many were converted, some of whom were among 

the emigrants mentioned. In 1776, at the earnest 

request of one of these — Barbara Heck, a Christian 

woman — Philip Embury (the other preacher referred 

to) commenced service in his own house, and shortly 

after in a larger room. One day the little Society was 

startled by the appearance in their midst of a British 

officer, (Captain Webb,) who they feared had come 

with a design to persecute them. They were 

both surprised and delighted in finding him to be 

an earnest co-worker. He had been converted in 

England, and licensed by Mr. Wesley as a local 

preacher. He was connected with the barracks in 

Albany, New York, and was a brave, bold man, who 

had lost an eye in his country's service. Hearing 

that Methodist services had been commenced in the 

36 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

city he had come to visit them. Under his zeal- 
ous labors th6 Society was greatly enlarged. A 
sail-loft was rented for temporary services, and in 
1768 a lot of ground on John-street was purchased, 
A building was soon commenced ; but such was the 
intolerance of the age, that in New York no church 
was permitted to be erected except by the recog- 
nized denominations. In order to evade the law, 
they were obliged to build a fire-place in one end 
of the house, thus making it resemble a family 
residence. The building was finished in 1768, and 
an earnest application was made to Mr. Wesley for 
a minister, and also for some pecuniary assistance. 
At the Conference held in Leeds in August, 1769, 
occurs the following record: ''Question 13th. We 
find a pressing call from our brethren in New York, 
who have built a preaching-house, to come over and 
help them. Who is willing to go ? Answer. Rich- 
ard Boardman and Joseph Pillmoor. Question 14th. 
What can we do further in token of our brotherly 
love? Answer. Let us now make a collection 
among ourselves. This was immediately done, and 
out of it, fifty pounds were allotted toward the pay- 
ment of their debt, and about twenty pounds given 
to the brethren for their passage." 

Captain Webb not only preached in New York, 
and assisted in the erection of the John-street 
church, but with restless energy he made excur- 

Rise of Methodism in America. 37 

sions to other parts of the country. He visited 
Long Island, where he gathered a Society, and he 
preached in the chief towns of New Jersey. He 
also introduced Methodism into Philadelphia, where, 
in 1768, he formed a class of seven members, who 
met in a sail-loft for worship. He was also active 
in the purchase of the first church property in Phila- 
delphia, St. George's, on Fourth-street, which had 
been built by a German Reformed Society, but, 
in an unfinished state, had been sold to a private 
individual. He also penetrated into Delaware and 
Maryland, and thus laid extensive foundations for 
rising Methodism. He not only supported himself 
while he thus labored, but he contributed Hberally to 
the erection of the chapels. He also corresponded 
with Mr. Wesley, and entreated him to send mis- 
sionaries to the new field. 

While great credit is due to Strawbridge for his 
efforts in Maryland, and to Embury for his faithful 
work in New York, (as a mechanic laboring in build- 
ing John-street Church, and in occupying the pul- 
pit which his own hands had built,) yet Webb merits 
the title of the chief apostle of Methodism, prior 
to the coming of Mr. Wesley's missionaries. His 
more extensive knowledge of Methodism in En- 
gland, his better education, and his position in 
society, gave him more power to lay proper founda- 
tions. He was also a preacher of great earnestness 

58 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

and eloquence. During one of the sessions of the 
American Coifgress, John Adams describes him as 
** the old soldier, one of the most eloquent men I 
ever heard. He reaches the imagination and 
touches the passions very well ; he expresses himself 
with great propriety." A Methodist writer says, 
*' They saw the warrior in his face, and heard the 
missionary in his voice ; under his holy eloquence 
they trembled, they wept, and fell down under his 
mighty word." 

In October, 1769, Boardman and Pilmoor arrived in 
Philadelphia. Boardman had been a minister about 
six years, and was then thirty-one years of age. Mr. 
Pilmoor had been educated at Wesley's Kingswood 
school, and had traveled four years. They were thus 
familiar wit^i all the usages of Methodism in En- 
gland, and were appointed by Mr. Wesley to give 
proper shape and form to the new Societies in 
America. Robert Williams, a local preacher in En- 
gland, hearing of the work which had commenced 
in America, sailed on his own responsibility, though 
with Wesley's approval ; and having arrived about 
two months in advance of Mr. Boardman, began to 
labor earnestly in the new field. On the arrival of 
the latter, he immediately left New York, stopping 
a short time with Mr. Pilmoor in Philadelphia, and 
then hurrying on to Maryland, where he joined Mr. 
Strawbridge. He also labored in Northern Virginia. 

Rise of Methodism in America. 39 

In 1770 America is mentioned for the first time in 
Mr. Wesley's Minutes, and in 1771 it is reported as 
having three hundred and sixteen members. As we 
find that more than a hundred of these were in 
New York, and about as many in Philadelphia, the 
Societies which had been gathered in Delaware, 
in Maryland, and in Virginia, at that time, must 
have been very small. The opening work, however, 
demanded other laborers, and in 1771 Mr. Wesley 
sent out Francis Asbury and Richard Wright. The 
latter soon returned to England. But Mr. Asbury, 
whose heart had yearned for America for months 
before he volunteered, became for a time the active 
and efficient superintendent of all the Societies, and 
subsequently, the pioneer bishop of the Church. 
When he came to America he was twenty-six years 
of age, and had traveled four years. He was 
thoughtful, studious, and energetic ; he preached 
methodically and with great fervor. As a disciplin- 
arian he was strict and systematic, self-possessed, and 
fearless. He had unusual skill in judging of human 
character, and was a man in every way fitted to lead 
an extensive movement. His mental strength, his 
dignity of character, his deep piety, his self-denial, 
and his diligence in labor, gave him commanding 
influence, and inspired confidence wherever he went. 
In his appearance he had something of a military 
bearing, united with unaffected manners, case of 

40 A HUNURED T12ARS OF iViEinuuibiM. 

deportment, and great Christian affability. He had 
a deep conviction that America was to be his per- 
manent field of labor, and Mr. Wesley showed his 
accustomed sagacity, not only in selecting him, 
but in appointing him, the year after his arrival, to 
succeed Boardman as superintendent of American 

With the exception of Captain Webb, who had 
traveled extensively, the preachers had confined 
themselves chiefly to a few of the larger places. 
Asbury at once commenced itinerating through the 
country, and, inspired by his example, the other 
ministers followed in his footsteps. Captain Webb 
visited England in 1772, and representing the pros- 
pects in America induced Mr. Wesley to send out 
two addition^il ministers, Thomas Rankin and George 
*Shadford, with whom he returned in 1773. Both of 
them were men of more than ordinary ability and 
prominence. Rankin was a careful disciplinarian, 
possibly somewhat too rigid, while Shadford was a 
successful revivalist. As Mr. Rankin was the older 
preacher, and a good executive officer, Mr. Wesley 
appointed him as the general assistant or superin- 

Prior to this time there had been no general meet- 
ing of the preachers in conference. They had met 
occasionally at the Quarterly Conferences, and be- 
ing few in number they had distributed their labors 

Rise of Methodism in America. 4r 

as from time to time was judged best. Mr. Rankin 
called the preachers together in Philadelphia, July 
14, 1773, to hold their first Annual Conference. 
The Minutes show ten preachers stationed, and one 
thousand one hundred and sixty members report- 
ed. Only eight preachers, however, w^ere present 
besides Boardman and Pilmoor, who were about 
returning to England, and all of them were from 
Europe. Two others, whose names appear in the 
Minutes, were not present, Strawbridge and Wat- 
ters. Embury had, prior to this time, removed from 
the city of New York, and had settled in one of the 
northern counties, where he shortly afterward died. 
Captain Webb, though laboring earnestly until the 
breaking out of the Revolutionary movements, was 
never connected with the Conference. 

The following year appears to have been one of 
great prosperity, and at the Conference held in May, 
in the city of Philadelphia, there were reported seven- 
teen preachers, with two thousand and seventy-three 
members; and in 1775, nineteen preachers, with 
three thousand one hundred and forty-eight mem- 
bers. These statistics show that the membership 
had nearly trebled in two years. 

This growth is remarkable when we consider the 
time in which it occurred. The rise of Methodism 
was coeval with the Revolutionary spirit. In 1760 
the Lords of Trade, in England, advised the taxing 

42 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

of the colonies, and the following year the hearts of 
the people wefre deeply stirred by the royal inter- 
ference with the judiciary. The memorable Stamp 
Act was passed in 1765 ; and the first Society in 
New York was organized in the year that compelled 
its repeal. From that time forward there was con- 
stant agitation and excitement, and in 1773, the year 
of the first Annual Conference, the famous act in 
reference to tea was passed. This was followed im- 
mediately by resistance in Philadelphia, New York, 
and Charleston, and in Boston harbor the vessels 
were boarded and the freight thrown into the sea. 
Then followed in quick succession the Boston Port 
bill, the meeting of the General Congress, the block- 
ade of Boston, and the battles of Lexington, Con- 
cord, and Bunker Hill. Methodism was thus cradled 
in the Revolution, and it grew up in the midst of 
the storm of battle. 

Not only were the times unfavorable, but its early 
ministers, being from England, were looked upon 
with suspicion. They were generally prudent, and 
confined themselves to their purely ministerial du- 
ties ; yet as the storm grew in violence, the most of 
them prepared to return to their native land. One 
or two of them, by imprudent expressions, involved 
the early Methodist Societies in great difficulties, 
and greatly embarrassed the labors of the preachers 
for several years. 

Rise of Methodism in America. 43 

While Methodism was commencing its work, and 
surrounded with such difficulties, other denomina- 
tions were strong and vigorous. Among these the 
Church of England, succeeded chiefly by the Protest- 
ant Episcopal Church in this country, held the high- 
est rank. The southern colonies from Virginia to 
Georgia had been founded chiefly by the members 
of that Church, and the ministry was supported by 
taxation or by appropriations. 

Virginia alone contained ninety-five parishes, in 
each of which, save one, a minister was stationed. 
In Maryland, while free toleration was given, yet 
the Church of England was established by law, and 
its clergy were supported by a poll-tax of forty 
pounds of tobacco, in lieu of tithes. In Pennsyl- 
vania, aside from that part of the Penn family who 
were Friends or Quakers, the governing class was at- 
tached to the British Church. The son of William 
Penn, who succeeded him as governor of the colony, 
having been disciplined by the Quakers for acts 
contrary to their profession, left them and gave 
his influence to the Church of England. In 
New York the entire influence of the government 
officers was with it ; and in the city of New York it 
had secured that landed property which has 
since become the immense endowment of Trinity 

Not only were the Episcopalians strong by having 

44 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

rontrol of the landed interests through settlement, 
and by having the offices and emoluments of the 
Government at their disposal, but they had also ac- 
quired the control of King's College, in New York, 
since known as Columbia College, and also of the 
University of Pennsylvania. Both of these institu- 
tions received public funds ; but being close corpo- 
rations, the Church secured a majority of the board 
of trustees, and has ever since controlled them, 
in its denominational interests. It had also founded 
William and Mary College in Virginia. 

New England, with the exception of Rhode Isl- 
and, was settled by the Congregationalists. They 
also established their Churches by law, and supported 
them by general taxation. They had, at an early 
period, fouijded Harvard University, Yale College, 
**and Dartmouth, and they had control of the gen- 
eral literary and social interests of that part of the 
country. The Dutch Reformed were, for a time, 
the ruHng power in New York, and had several 
large houses of worship. They had also founded 
Rutger's College. The Baptists were strong in 
Rhode Island, where they had established an 
institution of learning, which became Brown Uni- 
versity. They had also scattered congregations and 
about seventy-seven church edifices. The Presby- 
terians had early settled in Pennsylvania and New 
Jersey, where they founded Princeton College, and 

Rise of Mcthodisjfi in America. 45 

also several academies. As early as 17 16 they had 
organized four presbyteries, and numbered at the 
beginning of the Revolution more than a hundred 
ministers and Churches. The Lutherans had early 
settled in the interior of Pennsylvania, and were com- 
paratively strong both in ministers and Churches. 
Thus at the commencement of the present Centen- 
nial Period the Methodist Societies were far inferior 
in numbers, in strength, in position, and in culture, 
to all the leading denominations. 

The other Churches, being generally Calvinistic 
and the Methodists being Arminians, their doctrines 
were bitterly attacked and denounced in the princi- 
pal pulpits ; and, as a reference to the publications of 
the day will show, they were represented" as " wolves 
in sheep's clothing," and unworthy of Christian fel- 
lowship or confidence. In addition to all this, they 
labored under the embarrassment of not claimins" to 
be a Church. The Societies were organized after 
the model of those in England. The members were 
taught to have their children baptized, and to receive 
the Lord's Supper at the hands of the clergy of the 
English Church; and up to the period we have 
mentioned, none of their preachers in the United 
Colonies had been authorized to administer the holy 
sacraments. On this subject there had been some 
division of opinion and sentiment ; Strawbridge had 
administered baptism in a few cases, and also the 

46 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Lord's Supper ; but his course had been regarded ag 
irregular by .the leading ministers, and had been 

At the commencement of the Centennial Period 
— the close of the year 1775 — we find the Methodism 
of the world to be as follows : In England, Ireland, 
and Scotland, one hundred and forty ministers, and 
thirty-four thousand nine hundred and ninety-seven 
members ; in America, nineteen ministers, and three 
thousand one hundred and forty-eight members ; 
making the entire membership thirty-eight thousand 
one hundred and forty-five. These were not organ- 
ized as Churches, but simply as Societies. They 
had comparatively but little religious literature, and 
were without any school except the one at Kings- 
wood, and the membership was generally poor and 
without social influence. In the United States the 
only church edifice which it then had, and which 
still remains, is the St. George's, in Philadelphia, but 
which at that time was without a gallery, unplas- 
tered, unseated, and but half floored. In New York 
and Baltimore there were plain, unfinished buildings, 
which long since have been superseded by others. 
Besides these, only a few unimportant and exceed- 
ingly plain buildings were scattered through the 
country. Who could anticipate from such a com- 
mencement the present results? 

Progress During the Revolution. 47 


THE opening of the Centennial Period was in the 
midst of no ordinary trials. As we have seen, 
the leading ministers were from England ; and while 
keeping themselves aloof from political excitements, 
their sympathies generally were with the British 
Government. When the war commenced they be- 
gan to make arrangements to return ; and in two 
years after the Declaration of Independence, all of 
them, with the exception of Islx, Asbury, had re- 
turned to England. In the mean time native minis- 
ters were raised up, who went forth preaching with 
great earnestness, and their labors were blessed with 
extensive and remarkable revivals. These, however, 
were chiefly confined to the region south of Phila- 
delphia. For Methodism had not yet to any extent 
entered New England ; New York was occupied by 
the British troops; and New Jersey and Pennsylva- 
nia were frequently fields of contest. 

The chief itinerant labor was performed in Dela- 
ware, Maryland, and Virginia, extending subsequent- 
ly into North Carolina. During this time the min- 
isters suffered no little opposition. Ezekiel Cooper, 

48 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

in his sermon on Asbury, says : " The prejudices of 
the people thete ran high, and some of the laws, tc 
meet the exigencies of the times, were hard and op- 
pressive ; and some of the rulers and civil officers 
appeared disposed to construe and enforce every 
apparent legal restriction with rigor and oppression 
against the Methodists, who were then a persecuted 
and a despised people. 

" Some of the preachers were mulcted or fined, and 
thrown into costs ; and others were imprisoned, for 
no other crime or offense than traveling, and preach- 
ing the Gospel ; and others were bound over in 
bonds and heavy penalties, with sureties, not to 
preach in this or that county. Several were arrested 
and committed to the common county jail. Others 
were personally insulted, and badly abused in differ- 
ent ways. Some were beaten with stripes and blows, 
nigh unto death, who carried their scars down to 
the grave. In the city of Annapolis, the capital 
of Maryland, Jonathan Forrest and William Wren, 
and I believe at different times two or three others, 
were committed to jail. In Prince George's County, 
P. G., a preacher, was, by a mob, shamefully mal- 
treated ; * honored,' according to the cant of the 
times, ' with tar and feathers.' In Queen Anne's, 
Joseph Hartley was bound over, in penal bonds of 
five hundred pounds, not to preach in the county , 
Thomas Segar, yet living, was one of his sureties. 

Progress During the Revolution. 49 

In the same county Freeborn Garrettson was beaten 
with a stick by one of the county judges, and pur- 
sued on horseback till he fell from his horse, and 
was nearly killed. In Talbott County, Joseph- Hart- 
ley was whipped by a young lawyer, and was im- 
prisoned a considerable time. He used to preach 
during his confinement, through the grates or win- 
dow of the jail, to large concourses of people, who, 
on Sabbath days, used to attend to hear the pris- 
oner preach. They frequently came from ten to 
fifteen miles to hear him, and even from other coun- 
ties. His confinement produced a great excitement 
upon the public mind, and God overruled it for 
good to the souls of many. Christ was preached 
and numbers embraced religion. Even his enemies 
at length were glad to have him discharged." 

Mr. Asbury was a firm friend of American inde- 
pendence, but deemed it imprudent to make any 
public declarations, and in 1778 he found it neces- 
sary to retire from public labor, in Delaware, where 
he had the personal friendship of Judge White and 
other distinguished men. He was regarded with 
great suspicion by the officers of the army, until a 
letter which he had written to one of his colleagues, 
m which he defended the course of the United 
States, fell by some means into their hands. From 
that time their opinions and their deportment to- 
ward him were changed. A part of the opposition 

50 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

also arose from the fact that Mr. Wesley had issued 
his " Calm Address to the American Colonies," which 
he had abridged from the tract of Dr. Johnson, and 
which -had been seized, and its circulation prevented 
in America. It has since, however, been ascertained, 
from the files of the British Government, that at the 
very beginning of the war he addressed privately a 
powerful appeal to Lord North in favor of the colo- 
nies, in which he urged the inexpediency of the 
course of the British Government and the impossi- 
bility of their success. 

The care of the Methodist Societies was necessa- 
rily left in the hands of young ministers, generally 
without experience, and the most of them without 
much culture. It is very remarkable that under 
such guidance the Societies should have increased, 
yet by their zeal and earnestness, by their fervent 
appeals and untiring activity, these young men were 
instrumental in promoting great revivals in parts of 
Maryland and Virginia. During the period of Mr. 
Asbury's retirement his name was omitted from the 
Minutes, and he was unable to attend the annual 

At the Conference held in Virginia, in 1779, it was 
thought best to ordain some of the preachers to ad- 
minister the sacraments. The necessities of the case 
seemed very urgent. The ministers of the Church 
of England had, with very few exceptions, fled from 

Progress During the Revolution. 5 1 

the country, and the parishes were left destitute. The 
field was left open to the Methodist preachers, and 
they were welcomed by the great mass of the people. 
The people, when converted, pleaded for the baptism 
of their children and for the administration of the 
Lord's Supper. Mr. Asbury, however, who had been 
appointed by Mr. Wesley, as assistant, prior to the 
arrival of Mr. Rankin, jnd who, after his departure, 
had been chosen by the preachers who had met in 
Delaware as their general superintendent, strongly 
opposed this step. As soon as he was able to take 
active measures he called together the ministers, 
who agreed to remain true to Mr. Wesley's plan, 
and a committee was appointed, of which he was 
one, to visit the brethren in Virginia, and urge them 
to desist. For a time a rupture seemed inevitable ; 
but finally the brethren in Virginia agreed to decline 
for a time the administration of the sacraments, and 
to consult Mr. Wesley, and to follow his advice. 

Union and harmony having been restored, Mr. 
Asbury, being free from restraint, began again to 
travel extensively. The work was pressed forward 
through the western settlements in Pennsylvania, 
and by the close of the Revolutionary war a few 
Societies had been organized west of the mountains 
in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and in the Holston 
country in Tennessee. The Revolutionary war 
closed in 1782, though the definitive treaty of peace 


was not signed until 1783. That year Mr. Asbury 
urged Johij Dickins to go to New York and resusci- 
tate the pubHshing interests of the Church, which, 
in a small way, had been commenced before the 
Revolution. The next year he took charge of the 
small Society which was still existing, but which 
had been nearly destroyed during the war. 

Organisation of the Church, S3 



TTARNEST representations were made to Mr. 

-* — ' Wesley as to the necessities of the people, 
and he was urged to secure the ordination of some 
ministers for America. The subject had occupied 
his closest thought for many years. He had 
carefully studied church history, and, while orig- 
inally a high-Churchman, he had become fully sat- 
isfied that the doctrine of apostolic succession was 
wholly untenable, and that the right to ordain its 
officers resided in the Christian Church. He be- 
lieved that there was no difference originally in order, 
between the presbyters and bishops. The Church 
at Alexandria had for many years ordained its bish- 
ops by the presbyters, not calling in any foreign aid, 
and he believed the right remained with the Church, 
whenever any exigency demanded its exercise. At 
the same time he considered the episcopal form as 
most efficient for the establishment and spread of 
the Christian Church. As the American colonies 
had become independent of the British government, 
he thought they were free to follow " the direc- 
tions of Scripture, and the practice of the primitive 

54 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Church." With these views he selected Dr. Coke, a 
presbyter of* the Church of England, who, some 
eight years before, had associated himself with the 
Methodists in England, and who had labored with 
great earnestness and success. He proposed to him 
to be ordained as superintendent, that he might 
organize the societies in America into a distinct 
Church. The proposal was new to the doctor, and 
he asked time for consideration. In about two 
months he informed Mr. Wesley of his willingness 
to undertake the mission. Mr. Wesley prepared an 
abridgment of the Prafer Book, containing the arti- 
cles of religion, and a ritual providing for the or- 
dination of deacons, elders, and superintendents, 
copied, with but little alteration, from that of the 
English Church, which he printed in England, 
and gave to Dr. Coke to take with him. He se- 
lected also Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Vasey, 
two of his experienced ministers, to accompany the 
doctor. Calling them together at Bristol, he, as- 
sisted by Dr. Coke and Mr. Creighton, a minister 
of the Church of England, ordained Whatcoat and 
Vasey, first, as deacons, and subsequently as elders. 
Then, with the assistance of the three elders, he 
ordained Dr. Coke as superintendent of the Church 
in America. He also designated Francis Asbury 
as general superintendent, to be associated with 
Dr. Coke. 

Organization of the Church. 55 

The Societies in America had patiently waited 
more than three years after they had sent their re- 
quest to Mr. Wesley to advise them as to a proper 
plan for the administration of the sacraments. They 
thus gave the strongest possible proof of their re- 
spect for his judgment, and of their attachment to 
his plans. In September, 1784, Dr. Coke and his 
associates left England, and arrived at New York 
November 3, where they were received by Mr. 
Dickins, then in charge of the Church in that city. 
To him Dr. Coke unfolded his plan, and consulted 
with him as to the necessary iSkasures. It was agreed 
that Dr. Coke should go forward into Delaware. Mr. 
Asbury, hearing of his coming, invited a number 
of preachers to meet at Barrett's Chapel, at their 
ensuing quarterly meeting. Here Asbury and Coke 
met and embraced each other with brotherly love. 
The first sacramental season conducted by ordained 
Methodist ministers in America was held there amid 
deep religious feeling. The plan was fully consid- 
ered, and Mr. Garrettson was sent southward to 
summon the preachers to meet in a general con- 
ference on Christmas day, at Baltimore. Dr. Coke 
traveled extensively in the interval, and a week be- 
fore the Conference a few of the preachers met to 
mature and prepare matters for the coming session. 

56 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

At ten o'clock on Christmas-day, 1784, the Gen- 
eral Conference commenced in the Lovely Lane 
Chapel, in Baltimore. There were then eighty-three 
preachers occupying circuits or stations, and of 
these about sixty assembled. A few in distant 
parts of the Church did not receive the notice in 
time to be present, and a few, owing to unforeseen 
difficulties, were delayed in their journey. At the 
opening of the Conference, a letter from Mr. Wesley 
was read, stating his appointment of Dr. Coke and 
Mr. Asbury, and his ordination of Whatcoat and 
Vasey to act as elders ; and giving his opinion that 
the brethren in America should be wholly inde- 
pendent (?f the English hierarchy, and should " fol- 
low the Scriptures and the primitive Church." On 
motion of Mr. Dickins it was unanimously agreed 
to form an independent Church, to be called the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Asbury declined 
accepting ordination unless elected by his brethren. 
Whereupon Dr. Coke and himself were unanimously 
elected as superintendents. It was then agreed 
that the persons to be ordained deacons and eld- 
ers should be "nominated by the superintendent, 
elected by the Conference,* and ordained by im- 
position of the hands of the superintendents and 

* Whatcoat's " Memoirs," p. 21. 

Organization of the Church. 57 

elders. The superintendent has a negative voice." 
On the second day of the session Asbury was or- 
dained deacon by Coke, assisted by VaseyandWhat- 
coat ; on the third day he was ordained elder, and on 
Monday he was consecrated superintendent. Mr. Ot- 
terbein, of the German Church, by Mr. Asbury's spe- 
cial request, assisted Dr. Coke and the elders. Sub- 
sequently a number of preachers were elected and 
ordained deacons, and thirteen of these deacons 
were elected elders, of whom two were set apart 
for Nova Scotia, one for Antigua, in the West In- 
dies, and ten of them, together with Whatcoat and 
Vasey, were designed for the United States. Three 
of those elected elders, however, were not pres- 
ent, but were subsequently ordained. At that time 
less than thirty preachers had traveled four years. 
A few of these, through age and infirmities, were 
deemed unsuitable for the office, while others had 
not sufficient stability and culture. Dr. Coke re- 
cords his very favorable impression of the careful- 
ness and impartiality of the brethren in the discus- 
sions which followed, and in the elections which 
were made. He says : " They are, indeed, a body 
of devoted, disinterested men, but most of them 
young." In this state of affairs Mr. Wesley had 
specially requested that no greater number should 
be ordained elders than would suffice for the pur- 
p>-e of administering the sacraments. No change, 

58 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

except in matters pertaining to ordination, was 
made in the economy of the Church. The general 
Minutes of Mr. Wesley were accepted, and all the 
usages of the Church remained intact. 

At this Conference no changes were made in the 
appointments, and the preachers returned to their 
several charges. Never in ecclesiastical history was 
such a change so unanimously adopted. There was 
not a single dissenting vote in the Conference as to 
the organization of the Church, or as to its name, or 
as to its outline of government. What is still more 
remarkable, there is no record of a single complaint 
or murmur as to its doings from any absent minis- 
ter, or from a single member in any one of its Socie- 
ties. Every-where the organization was hailed with 
joy, and thfe sacraments were eagerly attended. 
The Prayer Book, as revised by Mr. Wesley, was 
used in the larger towns, and in some country 
places, in the Sabbath services, and in a few in- 
stances on Wednesdays and Fridays. But the 
preachers being obliged to travel extensively, and 
the people not being furnished generally with prayer 
books, and in many places no Societies having been 
organized, its use was attended with difficulty- 
Some of the ministers were opposed to it, beheving 
they could be more devotional, and more useful, 
without a set form. In a few years it was omitted 
from the services, though never formally discounte- 

Organization of the Church. 59 

nanced or abolished. The custom of wearing the 
gown and bands was introduced by Dr. Coke, and 
was followed for a time by Bishop Asbury and some 
of the elders, but this met with opposition from both 
preachers and members. They were considered to 
be superfluous, and as they encumbered the preach- 
er, who must make long journeys on horseback, 
without private rooms, in many places, to make the 
needed changes, the custom was soon abandoned. 
Such had been the progress of the Societies during 
the period of the Revolutionary struggle, that at the 
organization of the Church we find the number of 
members was fourteen thousand nine hundred and 
thirty-eight, having increased more than fourfold in 
nine years, and the number of preachers had in- 
creased from nineteen to eighty-three. 

6o A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


PROGRESS FROM 1785 TO 1792. 

'' I ^HREE Annual Conferences had been appointed 
-■- for the year 1785. Dr. Coke and Bishop As- 
bury traveled southward, and visited Charleston, 
South Carolina, and other points. They held their 
first Conference for the South at the residence of Mr. 
Green Hill, in North Carolina, and they ordained on 
their route Henry Willis, Beverly Allen, and John 
Tunnel, who had not been present at the Christmas 
Conference. From thence they passed to the Vir- 
ginia Conference, held at Mr. Mason's, and thence 
to the Baltimore Conference, which was the princi- 
pal one, and which closed the list. 

On their way from Virginia to Baltimore, Bishops 
Coke and Asbury called upon General Washington, 
dining with him, by appointment, at Mount Vernon. 
He received them very politely, and conversed with 
them on the subject of slavery, they having prepared 
a petition asking for the emancipation of the negroes. 
General Washington informed them that he agreed 
with them in sentiment, and would so signify to the 
Assembly if it should consider the petition, but did 
not deem it proper for him to sign it. 

Progress from 1785 to 1792. 61 

As Dr. Coke was to sail on the second day of the 
Baltimore Conference for Europe, it sat the first 
day until midnight. Dr. Coke preached that day, 
and also the next morning. During this session five 
additional brethren were elected as elders and three 
as deacons. One, who had been elected at the Gen- 
eral Conference, was temporarily laid aside. The 
Minutes, as published, show twenty in the list of 
elders, the name of the one who was laid aside be- 
ing omitted. Of these, twelve are marked as elders 
having several appointments under their care. 

At the organization of the Church, measures were 
taken for the establishment of a college. As early 
as 1780 Dickins and Asbury had devised a plan for 
a seminary, and had drawn up a subscription paper 
which a few brethren had signed. In the first inter- 
view between Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury this project 
became a matter of conversation, and Dr. Coke pro- 
posed the establishment of a college rather than a 
seminary. Abingdon, eighteen miles north-east of 
Baltimore, on the road toward Philadelphia, was 
selected as the site ; subscriptions were immediately 
commenced, and over a thousand pounds were re- 
ported. At the close of the Conference Dr. Coke 
and Mr. Asbury drew up a plan for the building, and 
on the fifth of June, after the adjournment of the 
Baltimore Conference, Mr. Asbury laid the corner- 
stone. The plot of ground contained about six 

62 A Hundred years of ivijKiMuui&ivi. 

acres, and commanded an extensive view down the 
bay — supposed, by Bishop Coke, to be some fifty 
miles. The edifice was of brick, one hundred and 
eight feet long by forty feet wide, and three stories 
high. The building was not finished or the institu- 
tion opened until December, 1787. An excellent 
course of study was marked out, careful teachers 
were selected, and though the discipline was, per- 
haps, unnecessarily rigid, the institution was prosper- 
ous. It added largely, however, to Bishop Asbury's 
care, as he was made its nominal president, and was 
engaged from time to time in securing subscriptions 
not only for the erection of the building, but to 
meet its current expenses. Plans were also devised 
at that Conference for raising funds for the support 
of ministers, for the greater comfort of preachers' 
wives, and to aid missionaries both in Nova Scotia 
and the western settlements. 

The following year there were three Annual 
Conferences, and we find some slight changes in the 
Discipline of the Church. These were effected by 
laying propositions before each Conference in suc- 
cession, and only those were adopted which received 
the approbation of a majority of the preachers in 
each Conference. The only notable change was an 
addition to the duties of the elders. In the Minutes 

Progress from 1785 to 1792. 6}^ 

of 1785, in answer to the question, "What are the 
duties of an elder?" was the following: "To admin- 
ister the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's 
supper, and to perform all the other rights prescribed 
by our liturgy." 

The Conference of 1786 added a second answer: 
" To exercise within his own district, during the ab- 
sence of the superintendents, all the powers invested 
in them for the government of our Church. Pro- 
vided, that he never act contrary to an express order 
of the superintendents." After a year's trial, simply 
for the administration of ordinances, it was thus 
found, as in the case of class-meetings, that an addi- 
tional use which had not been thought of could be 
made of this arrangement. 


Early in 1786 we find, from Asbury's "Journal," 
that Mr. Dickins had drawn up a revised edition of 
the Discipline, arranging the different parts under 
proper heads. Mr. Asbury examined the manuscript, 
but, probably desiring Dr. Coke's concurrence, it was 
not laid before the Conferences of that year. After 
having received Dr. Coke's approbation it was laid 
before the Conferences of 1787, and published after 
their close. In this edition of the Discipline, the 
word superintendent was changed to that of bishop. 
While there was some opposition to the change, 


it received the approbation of the majority of the 
preachers i» the several Conferences. The history 
of the matter appears to be this : Mr. Wesley had 
used the word superintendent, and it was employed 
in the Discipline of the Church ; but in common 
conversation the superintendents were known as 
bishops. Charles Wesley objected to the ordination 
of Coke and Asbury because it made them bishops, 
and he feared for the results in England. Dr. Coke, 
in his sermon preached at the ordination of Bishop 
Asbury, and which was published in England in 
1785, uses the expression, "Our bishops, or super- 
intendents, as we rather call them," etc. This was 
published under Mr. Wesley's eye without disap- 
probation. In Mr. Asbury's Journal, in 1786, we 
find him^alluding to the title bishop, showing that 
they were so known to the public. As the term is 
a scriptural one, and shorter, Dickins, in arranging 
the Discipline, introduced it ; but the Discipline was 
not published until after it had been adopted in 
this form and language by the Conference. 

In the year 1788 an attempt was made to secure 
more unity of action and a better system for bring- 
ing matters before the Conferences. The plan for 
a council was devised, which was approved" by the 
Conferences, beginning with those held in the spring 

Progress fro7n 1785 to 1792. 65 

of 1789. The council was to consist of the bish- 
ops, and the presiding elders of the several districts. 
If any presiding elder could not attend, he was to 
send an elder from the district in his place ; but nine 
were required to constitute a quorum. The object 
of the council was to supervise the connectional 
interests, especially the college and the Book Con- 
cern, and to devise and mature all plans to be laid 
before the several Annual Conferences. No meas- 
ure, however, was to be adopted until it received, 
first, the unanimous vote of the council, and second- 
ly, the vote of the Annual Conferences. In this 
plan for the council, we first find in the Discipline 
the name of presiding elder ; but in the same edition 
the word is also used in reference to trial of preach- 
ers, the presiding elders being required to call a 
committee. The council met in December, 1789, 
and again in 1790. It, however, became very unpopu- 
lar : first, because nothing was matured and decided 
without a reference to the Conferences ; and second- 
ly, because the presiding elders who constituted it, 
in the language of Jesse Lee, ''were appointed, 
changed, and put out of office by the bishop, and 
just when he pleased." He adds: *' Of course the 
whole of the council were to consist of the bishops 
and a few other men, of their own choice or appoint- 
ing." To remedy some of these defects, the first 
council determined that thereafter, instead of its 

^6 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

being constituted of the presiding elders, it should 
consist "of experienced elders," " elected by ballot," 
so as to properly represent the several Conferences. 
It was further determined that it should have power 
to direct and manage the printing, to conduct the 
plan of education, to appoint teachers, and fix their 
salary, and to preserve the general union of the 
preachers and people. The second council, being 
an elected body, considered itself authorized to 
take decisive action in the temporal matters con- 
nected with the college and the Book Concern, and 
to recommend alterations in the Discipline to the 
various Annual Conferences. 

Mr. O'Kelly, one of the presiding elders, who at 
first had been strongly in favor of the council, and 
who attended its first session, became utterly op- 
posed to it. Mr. Lee says, it was supposed " that 
he went to the first council with some expectation 
of being promoted in the Church, but finding him- 
self disappointed, he returned home greatly morti- 
fied." However this may be, such was his influ- 
ence that in his Annual Conference he succeeded 
in preventing the adoption of any measure which 
the council had proposed, and thus rendered its 
action void. He also advocated, in its stead, the 
calling of a General Conference. Bishop Asbury 
finding the opposition strong, and also seeing the 
great difficulty of securing any proper results, at 

Progress from 1785 to 1792. ^"J 

once agreed to the proposed call. The plan was 
approved by the preachers, and the Conference was 
appointed to assemble on the first of November, 

The increase in ministers and members from 1784 
to 1792 was very large. The Minutes are as follows: 
1784, eighty-three ministers, fourteen thousand nine 
hundred and eighty-eig^ht members; 1792, two hun- 
dred and sixty-six ministers, sixty-five thousand nine 
hundred and eighty members. Of the eighty-three 
ministers in 1784, only thirty-three remained in 
1792, more than seven eighths being new men. 
This marvelous growth brought with it some dan- 
gers. The vast majority were inexperienced in the 
Discipline of the Church, and some had no attach- 
ment to it. As early as 1783 Mr. Wesley had per- 
ceived the danger of improper men entering the 
American work, and had written a strong letter on 
the subject. He said: ''Beware of preachers com- 
ing from Great Britain or Ireland without a full 
recommendation from me. Three of our traveling 
preachers here eagerly desired to go to America, 
but I could not approve of it by any means, because 
[ am not satisfied that they thoroughly like either 
3ur Discipline or doctrine. . . . Neither should you 
receive any preachers, however recommended, who 
ivill not be subject to the American Conference. . . . 
Undoubtedly the greatest danger to the work of 


God in America is likely to arise either from preach 
ers coming from Europe, or from such as will aris< 
from among yourselves, speaking perverse things 
... It is far easier for you to keep them out, thai 
to thrust them out." 

It is somewhat singular that nearly all the troub 
les and secessions in Methodism have arisen fron 
trying to introduce English ideas and plans into ou 
American Church, or, in other words, from trying t( 
condense our immense continent into the area of ; 
little island. Every agitation has begun by extoll 
ing British usages and depreciating American. 

In every instance, however, the Church has ad 
hered to American ideas, and has resolutely refusec 
to change her policy at such dictation. Even Dr 
Coke, one of the wisest and best of men, was sup 
posed, because of his residence and official dutie 
in England, to be in sympathy with British plans 
and hence lost much of his influence in this coun 
try. On his first visit he remained seven months 
and was then absent a year and nine months 
Prior to his return he issued a call for a Genera 
Conference, to assemble at Baltimore, May i, 1787 
He received a note from Mr. Wesley desiring hin 
to make this call, and also desiring the appointmen 
of Richard Whatcoat as superintendent. As thi 
call was made without consulting either Bishop As 
bury or the preachers, and as it was supposed to bi 

Progress from 1785 to 1792. 69 

at Dr. Coke's desire, it excited much dissatisfaction. 
It, moreover, necessitated a change of the times of 
the Annual Conferences, which had been announced 
and pubhshed the previous year. 

When Dr. Coke arrived, he states that Bishop As- 
bury received him rather coldly, but that soon all 
estrangement disappeared. The Conference, how- 
ever, was dissatisfied, not only with the change of 
time and place, but still more by the attempt of 
Dr. Coke to introduce the British mode of deciding 
questions without a vote. He said that Mr. Wes- 
ley had instructed him to put as few questions to 
vote as possible, saying, " If you, Brother Asbury, 
and Brother Whatcoat are agreed, that is enough.""^ 

To this the preachers positively refused to agree. 
They also declined to accept Mr. Whatcoat as su- 
perintendent, for two reasons : " i. That he was not 
qualified to take charge of the connection ; 2. That 
they were apprehensive that if Mr. Whatcoat was 
ordained, Mr. Wesley would likely recall Mr. As- 
bury, and he would return to England."! 

Dr. Coke insisted that the Conference was bound 
to obey Mr. Wesley, because they had said, " Dur- 
ing the life of the Rev. Mr. Wesley we acknowl- 
edge ourselves his sons in the gospel, ready in mat- 
ters belonging to Church government to obey his 
commands." As this Minute was liable to be mis- 
Life of Ware," p. 130. \ Lee, p. 126. 

* " 

70 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

understood, it was at once rescinded. Dr. Coke, 
finding that his course had displeased the Confer- 
ence, acknowledged his mistake, and promised in 
writing, that when absent from the country he would 
not exercise any episcopal authority, nor when pres- 
ent would he exercise any functions, except presid- 
ing, ordaining, and traveling at large. This diffi- 
culty being settled, the Conference proceeded in 
great harmony. 

On the 27th of May Dr. Coke sailed for England, 
having remained in the country not quite three 
months. He felt afflicted by the action of the 
Conference, and his representations greatly preju- 
diced Mr. Wesley against Bishop Asbury. Beverly 
Allen, who was subsequently expelled for immo- 
rality, and Mr. O'Kelly, corresponded with him, 
and also addressed letters to Mr. Wesley com- 
plaining of Bishop Asbury's conduct, which led to 
a severe letter from Mr. Wesley. 

In February, 1789, Dr. Coke made his third visit. 
The proposition for a council was before the Con- 
ferences, and though he did not favor it, yet he 
made no opposition. He visited, with Bishop As- 
bury, the different Conferences, and was exceeding- 
ly delighted with what he saw and heard of the gra- 
cious revivals prevailing over the land. The New 
York Conference sat May 28, and as the first Con- 
gress under the new Constitution had assembled, 

Progress from 1785 to 179S. 7 1 

and General Washington had been inaugurated as 
president, it was deemed proper to present an adr- 
dress of congratulation. Bishop Asbury and Dr. 
Coke presented it in person to General Washington, 
who made a neat and appropriate reply. This was 
the first address presented to him by any Church, 
but it was soon followed by a number of others. 

On the 3d of June Dr. Coke sailed again for 
England, having remained on his third visit a lit- 
tle more than three months. He returned on his 
fourth visit, February 21, 1791. In his absence 
I\Ir. O'Kelly and Mr. Allen had severely assailed 
Bishop Asbury, and they had written letters which 
had unfavorably influenced the doctor's mind. Mr. 
O'Kelly had been for two years alienating the affec- 
tions of the young preachers from Bishop Asbury 
b\' representing him as a tyrant, and as being am- 
bitious and mercenary. He had greatly affected 
young M'Kendree, afterward bishop, who was sur- 
prised to find the bishop so kind and affable, and 
that in 1790 he proposed the names of those most 
imfriendly to him to be elected deacons, for at that 
period the nominations for orders were made by the 

In his Journal Bishop Asbury informs us that he 
found Dr. Coke's feelings much changed since his last 
visit. He evidently sympathized with Mr. O'Kel- 
ly and his party. Alarmed at the agitation which 

72 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

prevailed in Virginia, Dr. Coke wrote a letter to 
Bishop Wtiite, suggesting the possibility of some 
plan of union. He did this, as he subsequently ex- 
plained, because he feared for the stability of the 
Church, but he afterward saw his error. On the 
29th of April he received the news of Mr. Wesley's 
death, and immediately prepared to return to En- 

Before leaving, he gave his influence to the O'Kel- 
ly party by approving their platform, which con- 
sisted of five propositions : " i. The abolition of the 
arbitrary aristocracy, (the council.) 2. The invest- 
ing of the nomination of the presiding elders in the 
conferences of the districts. 3. The limitation of 
the districts to be invested in the General Confer- 
ence. 4. 'An appeal allowed each preacher on the 
reading of the stations. 5. A General Conference 
of at least two thirds of the preachers as a check on 
every thing." 

To the abolition of the council and the call of the 
General Conference Bishop Asbury heartily agreed. 
The Church generally waited without anxiety for 
the approach of the Conference; but O'Kelly, act- 
ive and restless, was exerting his utmost power to 
excite and inflame his preachers. 

"On the first day of November, 1792, the first 
regular General Conference began in Baltimore. 
Our preachers, who had been received into full con- 

Progress from 1785 to 1792. 73 

nection, came together from all parts of the United 
States where we had any circuits formed, with an 
expectation that something of great importance 
would take place in the connection in consequence 
of that Conference."* 

The only resolution which Mr. O'Kelly presented 
to change the Discipline, but -which was probably 
selected as his strongest point, and as a test of 
strength, was as follows : " After the bishop ap- 
points the preachers at Conference to their several 
circuits, if any one thinks himself injured by the ap- 
pointment, he shall have liberty to appeal to the 
Conference and state his objections ; and if the Con- 
ference approve his objections, the bishop shall ap- 
point him to another circuit." 

Mr. Lee tells us the debate was conducted " in a 
masterly manner. There never had been a subject 
before us that so fully called forth all the strength 
of the preachers. A large majority of them ap- 
peared at first to be in favor of the motion."t Aft- 
er three days* discussion, however, the vote -was 
taken, and the "motion was lost by a large majori- 
ty." Whereupon Mr. O'Kelly and several others 
seceded from the Church. Mr. Lee tells us that 
Mr. O'Kelly had denied in his preaching the doc- 
trine of the trinity, and anticipated thai if he re- 
mained charges would be presented against him. 
♦ Lee's " History," p. 176. f iHd., p. 179. 

74 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Bishop Asbury in this exciting debate showed 
great coolness and magnanimity. He vacated the 
chair and retired from the Conference, that the 
preachers might not be restrained by his presence. 
Dr. Coke, who presided, was known to be in favor 
of the measure, and it had all the influence of being 
in harmony with the British plan. Yet, after the 
most thorough and free discussion, the preachers 
resolved to abide by the American system, as best 
suited to their large and growing work. 


The Conference revised the Discipline, and made 
a number of changes. A section was added defin- 
ing the duties and mode of appointment of pre- 
siding eMers. Prior to that time no distinct law 
had been made, as the office and the name were the 
simple outgrowth of the administration. It had 
been sanctioned in the Discipline of 1789, and had 
been used in the Minutes as published in this coun- 
try, and also by Mr. Wesley in the English Minutes. 
But as it had been called in question, the Confer- 
ence made the distinct enactment, which has re- 
mained essentially the same to this present time. 
As we have already seen, the elders elected to ad- 
minister the sacraments visited for this purpose the 
quarterly meetings. In their reports to Bishop As- 
bury, he saw how serviceable they could be to the 

Progress from 1785 to 1792. 75 

administration, and in 1786 they were vested with 
powers of government. Some elders, however, were 
from the beginning stationed preachers. In the 
memoir of John Hagerty, one of the first elders or- 
dained, his appointments are given as follows : " In 
1785, he was stationed in New York; in 1786 and 
1787, he acted as presiding elder; in 1788, he was 
stationed in Annapolis; in 1789, in Baltimore," 
etc.* The term "presiding elder" is not found in 
the Disciphne or Minutes until 1789, but it was 
probably used as early as 1786. Mr. Ware tells us 
that his appointment was changed by his presiding 
elder in 1786; and Freeborn Garrettson informs us 
that he was very unexpectedly appointed by Bishop 
Asbury in 1787, "to preside" in the Peninsula. 
The inequality in numbers, however, before 1789, 
did not require much distinction, as the greater part 
of the elders were required for districts. But in 
1789 there were thirty elders, and but twelve dis- 
tricts; in 1792, before the General Conference, there 
were seventy-eight elders and eighteen districts. 


The first notice of the Book Concern appears in 
1789, with the appointment of John Dickins as book 
steward, in Philadelphia, and its interests were cared 
for by the General Conference of 1792. But as we 

♦ " Wesleyan Repository," vol. iii, p. 231. 

'j^ A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

shall hereafter see, books were pubHshed at a much 
earlier date. 

The preachers at this Conference determined that 
a session should be held every four years, to be at- 
tended by all the preachers who were in full connec- 
tion, and the time of the next session was fixed for 
the 20th of October, 1796. 

From 1792 to 1800. 77 


FROM 1792 TO 1800. 

AFTER the close of the General Conference, 
Bishop Coke remained but a short time in 
America. His brethren in England had requested 
that he might soon return to assist them in settling 
difficulties which had arisen after the death of Mr. 
Wesley. Nor does it appear that the American 
brethren earnestly requested his delay. 

]\Ir. O'Kelly no sooner returned home to Southern 
Virginia than he began to denounce the Church 
and to proclaim its ruin. He succeeded in associ- 
ating with him several traveling preachers, and in 
drawing off a large number of local preachers and 
members. He organized them into a Church, called 
the Republican Methodist Church, in which it was 
claimed that all ministers should be of equal author- 
ity, and the members should elect all their officers 
by vote. Subsequently the name was changed to 
the Christian Church; but the organization was 
never strong. For several years, however, the strife 
produced by his preaching and publications materi- 
ally retarded the progress of the Church. As the 
Conferences which were affected by this secession 


were held in 1793, shortly after the General Confer, 
ence, we find a small increase for that year. But in 
the three years following there was a decrease, so 
that the membership in 1796 amounted to only 
56,664, being a decrease in four years of 8,684. The 
preachers, however, show an addition of ^y. 

The history of this secession presents the same 
features apparent in all. Mr. O' Kelly began by find- 
ing fault with the economy of the Church, and then 
by assailing the reputation of its officers. He raised 
the cry of" tyranny " and '* one-man power " against 
Bishop Asbury, and denounced all who sustained 
the economy of the Church as the " bishop's party," 
or the " bishop's creatures." Finding himself in a 
decided minority he withdrew, taking a few preach- 
ers with him. 

Mr. Lee says : " In the latter part, of this year 
(1793) they began to form Societies, and to establish 
them on a kind of leveling plan. . . . One preacher 
was not to be above another, nor higher in office or 
power. . . . No superiority or subordination was to 
be known among them. . . . They prevailed with a 
good many of our people to leave us and join them. 
In some places they took off whole Societies to- 
gether, and in many places they drew off a part, 
others they threw into confusion, and in some places 
they scattered the flock and separated the people, 
. . . without securing them to their own party. They 

From 1792 to 1800. 79 

took a few meeting-houses from us, . . . and some 
we left to avoid contention. . . . The bishop was 
more despised by them than any other man. The 
name of bishop they abhorred. . . . Brother was 
turned against brother, and one Christian friend 
against another. The main contention was about 
the government of the Church."* 

His party made proselytes for two or three years, 
and then began to decline. He assailed Bishop As- 
bury in a virulent pamphlet, to which Mr. Snethen 
replied. About 1801 he published a pamphlet, in 
which he styled himself and party " the Christian 
Church." Subsequently they began to divide and 
subdivide, and then to disappear. 

Mr. Hammett, a preacher from the West Indies, 
succeeded, in 1792, in inducing a large part of the 
society in Charleston to follow him into an inde- 
pendent organization, which he called the Primitive 
Methodists. He gathered a few preachers around 
him and organized a few Societies. He and his 
preachers, however, divided, and he died in 1803. 

While these difficulties occurred at the South, a 
band of brave and heroic men, with Jesse Lee at 
their head, pushed the work northward into Massa- 
chusetts, Maine, and Canada, and their labors were 
greatly blessed. Others at the same time were ex-^ 
tending our borders in the forests of the West. 

* " Lee's History," p. 204. 

8o A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


From 1792 to 1795 the college continued to flour- 
ish, and Abingdon became a favorite place with 
the Methodists of Baltimore and vicinity. Bishop 
Asbury watched carefully over its interests, and col- 
lected funds in its behalf. Several precious revivals 
had occurred among the students, and it was becom- 
ing endeared to the Church. But on the night of De- 
cember 7, 1795, it was destroyed by fire, supposed 
to be the work of an incendiary. The governor of 
the State offered a reward of one thousand dollars 
for the detection of the offender, but the effort was 

A fetv liberal and enterprising friends in Baltimore 
purchased a building in that city, and re-opened the 
college under favorable circumstances, but in one 
short year it also was consumed by fire. Bishop 
Asbury and the friends generally were discouraged, 
and abandoned the enterprise. Prior to this time 
arrangements had been made for the establishment 
of a seminary, together with a prospective college in 
Georgia. Land had been procured, and steps taken 
for the erection of the building. A site, with a 
large body of land, was also secured in Kentucky; 
but, with the abandonment of the college in Balti- 
more, the leading men of the Church believed that 
God had not, at that time, called them to devote their 

From 1792 to 1800. 81 

means and energies to educational operations. They 
considered it their especial duty to spend all their 
time, efforts, and means in the general work of 
evangelization ; and not for nearly another quarter 
of a century were any active measures adopted to 
found educational institutions. 


The General Conference of 1796 met on the 20th of 
October. Dr. Coke, who had been absent nearly four 
years, was present, and brought with him a letter of 
fraternal greeting from the British Conference. The 
work was divided into six Annual Conferences, 
whose boundaries were fixed for the first time at 
this session, though the bishops were contingently 
authorized to add another. Measures were taken to 
secure proper deeds for church property, and the 
preachers were enjoined to pay increased attention 
to the subject. A chartered fund was constituted, 
trustees appointed, and application made for a char- 
ter to the Legislature of Pennsylvania. 

At this session it was agreed that local preach- 
ers might be ordained deacons upon receiving recom- 
mendations from Quarterly Conferences, indorsed by 
a number of preachers. More minute arrangements 
were also made for the trial of local preachers. 

As the Church was extending its borders, and the 
labni of Bishop Asbury increasing, the Conference 

82 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

discussed the propriety of electing another bishop. 
During the discussion Dr. Coke offered to givQ him- 
self wholly to the work in America, if the brethren 
desired, and thereupon the Conference declined to 
order an election. 

At the following Virginia Conference, the British 
Conference desired the return of Dr. Coke. In 
accordance with this request, Bishop Asbury and 
the Conference gave their consent, at the same time 
informing the British Conference that the General 
Conference alone had power to release him. 

At the close of the eighteenth century, the Church 
moved steadily forward without any material change. 
The General Conference was recognized as the only 
law-making power, the Annual Conferences as the 
meeting of the preachers for administrative purposes. 
The time for the Annual Conference was appointed 
by the bishop, and the place selected by the Confer- 
ence. The restless spirits having withdrawn with 
O'Kelly, there was little agitation within the Church ; 
and the attention of the preachers and people were 
given to the preaching of the Gospel, the erection of 
churches, and the extension of the Church into the 
rapidly settHng region west of the mountains. 

general conference for 1800. 
The General Conference for 1800 was appointed 
for the first of November ; but, owing to the preva- 

From 1792 to 1800. '^l 

tence of the yellow fever in the fall preceding, the 
Annual Conferences, at the suggestion of Bishop 
A-sbury, changed the time to the month of May, at 
ivhich date it has since uniformly met. 

Bishop Asbuiy's health was greatly impaired dur- 
ing the years 1797 and 1798, and Jesse Lee held 
for him several of the Conferences. Bishop Coke 
was present at the General Conference, but brought 
an urgent request from England that he might be 
allowed to return. To this the Conference assented, 
on the conditions that he would return at the end of 
four years. As Bishop Asbury was still frail, and as 
he had expressed an intention to resign, the Con- 
ference passed a resolution appreciating his services, 
and earnestly asking him to continue them, as far as 
his health would permit. To this he consented, 
and the Conference resolved to elect an additional 

Prior to the election a discussion arose as to the 
powers of the new bishop, and whether he should 
be considered an assistant to Bishop Asbury, or his 
equal. Dr. Coke, still in favor of the British plan, 
moved that the new bishop should present the ap- 
pointments to the Conference for their consideration 
[ind revision, but, finding the motion very distasteful 
to the preachers, asked leave to withdraw it. A mo- 
tion to unite a committee with the bishop, in mak- 
ing the appointments, was rejected. The Conference 

84 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

adhered to its original plan, and resolved that the 
new bishop 'should be a joint superintendent. 

On the first ballot no one had a majority; on the 
second there was a tie between Jesse Lee and Rich- 
ard Whatcoat. On the third ballot Richard What- 
coat was elected, and he was ordained May i8, iBoo. 

Prior to this period, at the request of the Annual 
Conferences, colored preachers were occasionally or- 
dained under a special arrangement. Bishop Asbu- 
ry, at this session, desired that the arrangement 
should be formally adopted by the General Confer- 
ence. Accordingly it was enacted that when the 
colored members had built a house of worship, and 
had a person qualified, he might be ordained a 
deacon upon obtaining a recommendation of two 
thirds of the male members of the Society, and 
also one from the minister in charge and his as- 
sociates in the city or circuit. The rule, however, 
was offensive to many of the southern people, and 
though acted upon locally, was never inserted in the 
Discipline. The first colored deacon ordained under 
this rule was Richard Allen, of Philadelphia, who 
subsequently became the leader in the secession of 
the colored people from the Church, and was elected 
the first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal 
Church. Others were subsequently ordained in 
New York, Philadelphia, and in the northern border 

From 1792 to 1800. 85 

It was resolved that hereafter the General Con- 
ference should consist only of elders who had trav- 
eled four years ; and the Annual Conferences were 
directed to send their Journals to the General Con- 

Before this time the bishops had not received 
their support by any regular plan. A few private 
friends had furnished Bishop Asbury whatever he 
had needed. It was now resolved that each An- 
nual Conference should pay its proportional part 
of the allowance. 

This Conference recommended the purchase of 
ground and the erection of parsonages in each cir- 
cuit, and took additional action in reference to the 
support of the ministers. The number of Confer- 
ences was increased from six to seven. In the six- 
teen years from the organization of the Church, the 
numbers had increased from fourteen thousand nine 
hundred and eighty-eight to sixty-four thousand 
eight hundred and ninety-four, and the number of 
preachers had increased from eighty-three to two 
hundred and eighty-seven. But owing to the O'Kelly 
excitement and other causes the number in 1800 
was not quite equal to that of 1792. The work 
among the colored people had greatly enlarged, 
their numbers amounting to thirteen thousand four 
hundred and fifty-two ; almost half that number, 
five thousand four hundred and ninety-seven, being 

86 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

in Maryland ; the white membership in Maryland 
amounting to six thousand five hundred and forty- 
nine. The heaviest white membership was then in 
Virginia, being ten thousand eight hundred and 
fifty-nine. The Minutes show that by far the larg- 
est proportion of membership was in the southern, 
or slave territory. 

Reviewing the condition of the Church in the first 
quarter of our centennial period we find its numbers 
had rapidly and largely increased. It had erected a 
large number of small and plain churches, though 
we have no definite statistics. It had established a 
Book Concern, with but small capital, and as yet 
without any property, conducted by Ezekiel Cooper, 
in Phifadelphia. It was then destitute of any edu- 
cational institutions, Cokesbury College, as we have 
seen, having been consumed by fire, and the acade- 
mies having been abandoned. The preachers, how- 
ever, were in perfect harmony, and the Church was 
prepared for the glorious scenes which followed. 
Indeed, during the services of the General Confer- 
ence a revival of unusual power and influence com- 

From 1800 to 1808. '^7 


FROM 1800 TO 1808. 

THE first Annual Conference after the General 
Conference of 1800 was held not far from Bal- 
timore. The session was remarkable for its relig- 
ious interest. The Conference met daily in a private 
room, but the young preachers and members were, 
almost continually, engaged in services in the church 
and in private houses. The interest was so great that, 
it is stated, services were held without interruption 
for forty-five hours. Although the population was 
Comparatively sparse and small, Mr. Lee says : " 1 
believe I never saw before for so many days together 
such a glorious work of God, and so many people 
brought to the knowledge of God by the forgiveness 
of their sins. I think there were at least one hun- 
dred and fifty souls converted at that place in the 
course of that week." From this time a remarkable 
revival prevailed during the summer and autumn 
over a large portion of the eastern work. A won- 
derful work commenced about the same time in 
Kentucky and Tennessee. The country being newly 
settled, people were attracted from great distances. 
.Such crowds assembled as no house could hold, and 

88 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

as the ireighbors were not able to entertain. The 
ministers were obliged to preach out of doors, and 
they sought the shade of the groves. People 
brought their provisions and lodged in their wagons 
in order to attend the meetings. Thus arose what 
were termed for the first time " camp-meetings." As 
these meetings continued to increase in interest and 
in numbers, people prepared tents, to protect them 
both from the night air and the rain. So much good 
was accomplished by these meetings that they were 
afterward held in different parts of the country. At 
first they were conducted alike by the Presbyterians 
and Methodists. Out of the revivals which followed 
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church arose, retain- 
ing ths Presbyterian polity, but rejecting the doc- 
trine of election and reprobation. These meetings 
brought a great number of converts into the Church. 
The Minutes for 1802 show an increase of thirteen 
thousand eight hundred and sixty; for 1803, seven- 
teen thousand three hundred and six ; and for 1804, 
nine thousand and sixty-four; making in three years 
an increase of over fifty per cent. ; the total mem- 
bership in 1 80 1 being seventy-two thousand eight 
hundred and seventy-four, and in 1804, one hun- 
dred and thirteen thousand one hundred and thirty- 

From 1800 to 1808. 89 


The General Conference of 1804 commenced in 
the city of Baltimore on the 6th of May. The 
Journals show that the Discipline was examined, 
paragraph by paragraph, from beginning to end. 
Amendments were suggested, and a vote was taken 
on each section. A rule was adopted that the 
bishops should allow the Annual Conferences to sit 
a week at least, and that they should not allow any 
preacher to remain in the same station or circuit 
more than two years successively. In a few cases 
the preachers had been stationed for three years, 
and it was understood that the bishops desired an 
enactment of this rule, to free them from embarrass- 
ments as to certain ministers who desired a longer 

From 1800 to 1808 we find but little change in the 
general condition of the Church. Its borders were 
constantly enlarging and its membership increasing, 
so that in 1808 there were reported five hundred 
and forty preachers and one hundred and fifty-one 
thousand nine hundred and ninety-five members, 
showing that the numbers had more than doubled in 
the eight years. A feeling of insecurity with regard 
to Church order had prevailed in the Church for 
some time. The General Conference, composed at 
first of all the ministers in full connection, though 

90 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

limited in 1800 to the elders, had supreme authority 
over all parts of the Church, and by the vote of the 
majority could at any time change any part of the 
Articles of Religion or of the church economy. In 
1804 a motion was offered by Dr. Coke that no reg- 
ulation or law should be adopted until heard at 
three distinct sittings, and until it had received the 
approbation of the Conference each time. This was 
lost, and the rule that two thirds should be re- 
quired to abolish a provision of the Discipline came 
within one vote of being rescinded. The feeling of 
insecurity was also increased by the fact, that, the 
General Conference meeting in Baltimore, the whole 
of the Church was necessarily placed in the hands 
of the preachers in the central parts. We have no 
list of the preachers in attendance until 1804, when 
we find that, of one hundred and twelve ministers 
present, forty-one were from Philadelphia Confer- 
ence, and twenty-nine from Baltimore ; giving these 
two Conferences almost two thirds of the body. 

As early as 1800, a proposition was made by a 
preacher from Virginia, that there should be a dele- 
gated General Conference, but it was promptly neg- 
atived. This was renewed in 1804, but was voted 
down by a large majority. One writer, however, 
says that it was with the understanding that the sub- 
ject should be considered by the Annual Confer- 
ences, and brought, with other suggestions, before 

From 1800 to 1808. 91 

the Conference of 1808. On the assembling of that 
body we find one hundred and twenty-nine mem- 
bers reported ; but the biographer of Bishop M'Ken- 
dree states that there were but seven from the 
Western Conference instead of eleven, as reported 
in the Minutes, making the number only one hun- 
dred and twenty-five. Of these, Philadelphia had 
thirty-two and Baltimore thirty-one, being a major* 
ity of the entire body. 


Bishop Whatcoat labored assiduously in the dis- 
charge of his duties as bishop from his election in 
1800 to the spring of 1806. He was then obliged to 
desist, and found a home at the house of Governor 
Bassctt, in Delaware. His last affliction was very 
severe, and, after an illness of thirteen weeks, he died 
in the triumphs of faith, July 5, 1806. Though not 
distinguished for great brilliancy in the pulpit, or 
for great executive ability, he was, nevertheless, an 
excellent preacher, and was faithful and diligent in 
all his work. He was remarkable for his meekness 
and humility, and for the deep spirit of piety which 
he manifested, both in public and private. In refer- 
ence to his ordination a distinguished writer has said : 
" Holy hands were never laid on a holier head." 

After his death, Bishop Asbury, being in feeble 
health, earnestly desired the election of another 

92 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

bishop, and the New York Conference proposed to 
the Annual Conferences to call a delegated Confer- 
ence of seven members from each, to meet the next 
year and elect a superintendent. The four most dis- 
tant Conferences, to wit. New York, New England, 
the Western, and South Carolina, approved the plan ; 
but the Virginia Conference, under the leadership 
of Mr. Lee, rejected it, and it failed. The chief 
argument against it was, that it might interfere with 
the plan of a regular delegated conference. This 
opposition was, doubtless, wise, as it compelled the 
General Conference to regard the wishes of the dis- 
tant Conferences. 


The subject of a delegated body being brought 
before the Conference of 1808, a committee of four- 
teen, consisting of two from each Conference, was 
appointed to consider the propriety of the measure, 
and to report such regulations as might be necessary. 
The New York Conference had unanimously memo- 
rialized the General Conference to adopt such plan. 
The New England and Western Conferences had 
unanimously concurred, as also the South Carolina, 
with the exception of five members. 

As Bishop Asbury was alone in the episcopacy, 
the Conference decided to elect another as joint su- 
perintendent. The choice fell on William M'Ken- 

From iZooto 1808. 93 

dree, who had long been distinguished as an active 
leader in the Western Conference, had filled the 
office of presiding elder for a number of years, was 
an able and eloquent preacher, and a laborious and 
successful administrator. During the session of the 
Conference he preached a sermon of unusual beauty 
and strength, which produced a powerful effect on 
the audience. Bishop Asbury at its close said, " That 
sermon will make M'Kendree bishop." So it did. 
He received a large majority of the votes cast. 

The committee, to which had been referred the sub- 
ject of a delegated General Conference, formed from 
its own body a subcommittee, consisting of Ezekiel 
Cooper, Joshua Soule, and Philip Bruce, to prepare 
a report. Each of these was requested to draw up 
an outline, that the three might be compared. The 
paper drawn up by Joshua Soule was approved by 
the subcommittee, and subsequently by the entire 
committee, and was reported to the Conference. A 
similar paper had been drawn by Ezekiel Cooper, 
differing, however, in a few respects. The third 
restriction, as prepared by Bishop Soule, and ulti- 
mately adopted by the Conference, was, " they 
shall not change or alter any part or rule of our 
government, so as to do away episcopacy, or to 
dc^tro^■ the plan of our itinerant general superin- 
tendency." That prepared by Mr. Cooper read, 
" they shall not do away episcopacy, nor reduce our 

94 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ministry 'to a presbyterial parity.' The whole plan 
of the General Conference as it now exists, and with 
its restrictions, was debated for some time, when it 
was moved by Ezekiel Cooper, of the Philadelphia 
Conference, seconded by Joshua Wells, of the Balti- 
more Conference, " to postpone the present ques- 
tion to make room for the consideration of a new 
resolution, as preparatory to the minds of the breth- 
ren to determine on the present subject." 

The motion prevailed, and they immediately in- 
troduced a resolution, that, " each Annual Confer- 
ence respectively, without debate, shall annually 
choose, by ballot, its own presiding elders." This 
question was debated at the session held Monday 
afternc^n, and Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, 
and finally was lost by a vote of fifty-two for, and 
seventy-three against. The plan for a delegated 
body was then voted upon and lost, fifty-seven being 
for and sixty-four against. 

As four Conferences had asked for the adoption 
of this plan, and as it was lost by the votes, princi- 
pally, of Philadelphia and Baltimore, great feeling 
was excited. The New England delegates asked 
leave of absence, and they were followed by the 
western delegates, stating, however, that they were 
not disposed to make any difficulty in their charges, 
but they considered their presence wholly useless 
in the General Conference. Henry Smith tells us 

From 1800 r^ 1808. 95 ' 

that, " Burke's brow gathered a solemn frown , Sale 
and others looked sad ; as for poor Lakin, he wept 
like a child." The brethren remained in the city 
however, another day, and by the personal exertions 
of Bishops Asbury and M'Kendree some private in- 
ter\ie\vs were held, and a number of the members of 
the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conferences agreed 
to vote for the plan if the brethren would remain. 
This they accordingly did; and subsequently the 
plan was adopted with great unanimity. 

Thus the constitution of the Church was essen- 
tially changed, and its stability was secured. Prior 
to that time the General Conference was supreme 
in all departments. Since that time it is supreme, 
excepting in the items specified in the restrictions, 
no change in which can be made without the con- 
sent of the preachers in their several Annual Con- 
ferences. So tenacious was the General Conference 
upon these restrictions, that it was enacted that 
they should be altered only by a majority of two 
thirds, on the joint recommendation of all the 
Annual Conferences. This remained the law of the 
Church until 1832, when the ratio of delegation, 
which had been fixed at not less than one for every 
seven, made the Conference an unwieldy body. After 
various efforts the Annual Conferences consented 
not only to alter the ratio of delegation, but gave 
their consent that all the restrictions, except that 

96 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

referring to the Articles of Religion or standards of 
doctrine, might be changed by two thirds of the 
General Conference, on the recommendation of three 
fourths of the members of the Annual Conferences. 
Since that period the ratio has gradually been 
changed, until at present it is one for every forty-five. 
At this Conference Ezekiel Cooper resigned the 
office of Book Agent ; he had been elected to succeed 
John Dickins, who died in 1798. He states, in his 
resignation, that when he took charge of the Con- 
cern, "in the spring of 1799, the whole amount of 
the clear capital and stock, including debts, and all 
manner of property, was not worth more than four 
thousand dollars. In 1804 I could show a capital 
of abcfut twenty-seven thousand dollars." At that 
time the location was changed from Philadelphia to 
New York ; John Wilson was associated with him 
in the agency, and they reported : " Now we show a 
capital of about forty-five thousand dollars." John 
Wilson was appointed as editor and general book 
steward, and Daniel Hitt was elected by ballot as 
the assistant editor and general book-steward. At 
the Conference of 1804, when the rule Hmiting the 
ministerial term to two years was enacted, the office 
of editor and book steward was made an exception. 
Since that period the exception has been extended 
to all General Conference of^cers, and to some 
others specifically named. 

From 1808 to 1820. 97 

FROM 1808 TO 1820 

NO special events occurred in church history 
from 1808 to 18 1 2. General satisfaction as to 
the constitution of the delegated Conference pre- 
vailed, and the preachers pursued their work with 
their wonted zeal and activity, so that the Minutes 
of 1812 show six hundred and eighty-eight preach- 
ers and one hundred and ninety-five thousand three 
hundred and fifty-seven members, with eight Annual 

The first delegated General Conference met in the 
city of New York on the first of May, 1812, and was 
composed of ninety members. Prior to this time, 
the bishops were members of the General Confer- 
ence, and had equal rights upon the floor; they 
m.ulc motions and took part in the debates. From 
this time for^vard, their duties were limited to the 
simple office of presiding. Prior to this time, the 
office itself could have been abolished by a single 
vote of the General Conference, or they could have 
taken from the episcopacy any one of the functions 
which they had assigned it. Since that period, it 

has required a concurrent vote of all the Conferences, 


98 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

or, sincS 1832, of three fourths of the preachers vot- 
ing in the Annual Conferences, and of two thirds of 
the members of the General Conference, either to do 
away the office itself, or in any way to destroy " the 
plan of our itinerant general superintendency." The 
same is true as to the trial of members and ministers, 
and their right of appeal. Prior to 1808, by a sim- 
ple vote, the right of appeal could have been refused, 
and the trial of members could have been taken out 
of the hands of the Societies. Since that period, 
by the constitutional restrictions, no such change 
can be made without the concurrence aforesaid. 
At this Conference local deacons were made ehgible 
to the office of elders. A proposition was made to 
remote the Book Concern to the city of Baltimore, 
no property as yet having been purchased in New 
York ; but the motion was lost, and Daniel Hitt and 
Thomas Ware were elected Book Agents. 

At the opening of the Conference Bishop M'Ken- 
dree made a communication in writing, portions 
of which were referred to appropriate committees. 
This was the commencement of the episcopal ad- 
dresses, which have been continued with more or 
less regularity from that time. Bishop Asbury also 
made a long verbal address, directing it chiefly to 
Bishop M'Kendree. 

The subject of electing presiding elders was again 
brought forward at this Conference, though the 

From 1808 to 1820. 99 

precise form of the plan is not stated in the Jour- 
nal. The movement had been commenced in the 
New York Conference, and its friends were san- 
guine of success. It failed by a vote of forty-two 
to forty-five. Bishop Asbury says : " After a seri- 
ous struggle of two days in General Conference to 
change the mode of appointing presiding elders 
it remains as it was." 


Between 18 12 and 18 16, the Church was called 
upon to mourn the death of two of its bishops. 
Though Dr. Coke had not visited America since 
1804, his name had been retained in the Minutes. 
In England he was very active in conference busi- 
ness, and was the center of all its missionary opera- 
tions. As early as 1784 he had drawn up a plan 
f^ir a missionary society. In 1786 he issued a call 
for subscriptions to support the missions in the isl- 
ands adjacent to England and in the West Indies 
and Xov;i Scotia; and, under Mr. Wesley's approba- 
tion, he collected and disbursed a large amount of 
funds. He visited the missions in the West Indies, 
and through his earnest efforts the public attention 
of England was in great measure aroused to the 
horrors of slavery. He early meditated the estab- 
lishment of a mission in India, and after much cor- 
respondence and removing many embarrassments, 

loo A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

he finally sailed, in December, 1813, with six preach, 
ers, for Ceylon, to commence missions in the East 
Indies. When he had almost reached that country, 
on the 3d of May, 18 14, he was found in the morn- 
ing dead in his cabin. During his voyage he had 
been assiduous in his studies, and had read and 
written nearly all the time. His heart yearned for 
the evangelization of India, and though cut off sud- 
denly, the work, which he had long wished to see 
established, was placed on a permanent basis. It 
has constantly prospered and enlarged from that 
time to this, and has accomplished a vast amount 
of good. Notwithstanding that Bishop Asbury and 
he differed on some points of church economy, yet 
ther^ was cordial and abiding confidence and attach- 
ment between them. Bishop Asbury regarded him 
as surpassed in activity and missionary zeal by no 
man since the apostolic age. 

Bishop Asbury had been for years greatly enfee- 
bled, yet he had continued to travel extensively. For 
some years, the Conference allowed him a traveling 
companion. Unable to ride on horseback, he had 
traveled in a plain carriage. Often unable to stand 
in the pulpit, he had sat while he preached earnest 
and powerful sermons. The Sabbath before he died, 
he was seated on a table in the pulpit when he ad- 
dressed the congregation. He expired near Fred- 
ericksburgh, Va., the 31st of March, 1816. A map 

From 1808 to 1820. loi 

of less energy would have taken to his bed long 
before, but he continued to travel and to preach 
until the last. On the Sunday of his decease his 
traveling companion desired to call in a physician, 
but as there was none within ten or twelve miles, 
he declined to have one sent for, saying, " He could 
only pronounce me dead." The day was stormy, 
and no person was present save the family; but he in- 
sisted on having regular rehgious worship. After it 
was ended, raising himself in bed, he asked that the 
"mite subscription should be presented," but was 
told that no strangers were present. In the after- 
noon he calmly fell asleep. After he was unable to 
speak, in response to a question he raised his hands 
toward heaven, in the joyful assurance of everlast- 
ing life. The mite subscription for which he asked 
as his last official act, was a paper which he carried 
to raise money for the poor preachers who were dis- 
tressed in their circumstances, and who traveled in 
frontier settlements, performing purely missionary- 
work. Thus he showed to the last that his thoughts 
were with his brethren, and he died in the midst of 
his efforts in their behalf. As an apostle to the 
Churches of America he has had no equal. He 
shunned no toil or sacrifice which lay in the path- 
way of duty. Enfeebled and diseased, he kept 
ceaselessly on his way, crossing mountains and 
traversing forests, seeking the lost, and inspiring 

102 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

young ministers with missionary zeal. To no other 
man does American civiHzation owe so much as 
to Bishop Asbury. He is worthy of a place 
among the heroes of ''j6. 


The General Conference of 18 16 met in the city 
of Baltimore, Bishop M'Kendree presiding alone. It 
was resolved to elect two additional bishops, and 
Enoch George, a delegate from the Baltimore Con- 
ference, and Robert R. Roberts, a presiding elder of 
the Philadelphia Conference, were chosen. Both of 
them were men of deep piety, and they enjoyed to 
a large degree the esteem and confidence of their 
brethren. Bishop Roberts especially, by his dig- 
nified bearing, apostolic simplicity, comprehensive 
views, sound common sense, and his exposure to 
the hardships of a frontier life, exercised a com- 
manding influence in the Church. Bishop George 
was earnest, active, zealous, and useful, though less 
cultured, perhaps, than any other of those who have 
been elected to that office. 

At this session, also, the question of electing pre- 
siding elders was brought before the Conference, but 
it was again rejected. A resolution was adopted di- 
recting the bishops to prepare a course of study to 
be pursued by the candidates prior to their admis- 
sion into full connection. The number of Annual 

From 1808 to 1820. 103 

Conferences was increased from eight to eleven, and 
the bishops were authorized to appoint an additional 
Conference if, in their judgment, the number of cir- 
cuits required it. 

A few houses of worship about this time were 
built with pews, and the matter being brought to 
the attention of the General Conference, a vote of 
disapprobation was passed. A resolution was also 
adopted directing the bishops and presiding elders 
to guard against too great division and reduction of 
di^t^icts and circuits. The pubHcation of a monthly- 
Missionary Magazine by the Book Agents at New 
York was recommended. The capital of the Con- 
cern at this time was reported to be about eighty 
thousand dollars, and yet, owing to various causes, 
it was considerably embarrassed. A change in man- 
agement was deemed necessary, and Joshua Soule 
and Thomas Mason were elected Book Agents. The 
capital of the Chartered Fund was reported as amount- 
ing to twenty thousand six hundred and fifty-two 
dollars. The report of numbers showed considera- 
ble increase, the membership being two hundred and 
fourteen thousand two hundred and thirty-five, and 
the preachers, six hundred and ninety-five. 


The period from 18 16 to 1820 forms in several re- 
spects an interesting era in the Church. A few men 

104 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

of creative minds, such as Joshua Soule, Nathan 
Bangs, John Emory, Ehjah Hedding, Wilbur Fisk, 
and Martin Ruter, became leaders in their respective 
spheres, and gave breadth and energy to connectional 
movements. The monthly "Methodist Magazine" 
made its appearance in 1818, and was the first liter- 
ary connectional bond in the Church. The news it 
contained, though small in amount, created a desire 
for the weekly periodical literature which was to follow. 

In 1817 a "Tract Society" was organized in New 
York, to aid in circulating cheap religious publi- 
cations. It was closely identified with the Book 
Concern, which printed and circulated its issues, and 
kept its accounts, without any other agency. 

At?out 1 8 19 a seminary was opened at New 
Market, New Hampshire, which was ultimately re- 
moved to Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and of which 
Dr. Fisk was once the able and accomplished princi- 
pal. It is the only survivor of the literary move- 
ments of that period. About the same time a sem- 
inary was organized in New York, with a building 
in Crosby-street. The building was afterward sold 
to the Book Concern, and the seminary was removed 
to White Plains. It ceased several years since to be 
a Church institution. 

The great movement of the period was the for- 
mation of the Missionary Society of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, largely through the efforts of 

From 1808 to 1820. 105 

Joshua Soule, Nathan Bangs, and Laban Clark, 
assisted by Freeborn Garrettson and a few other 
persons. The cry for help was long and loud from 
the frontier work, and oftentimes, under appeals from 
the bishops, collections had been taken, and private 
subscriptions made. Another call came from the In- 
dian tribes, whose borders had been reached by the 
wave of civilization. The story of Stewart, to which 
\\t shall allude hereafter, stirred the hearts of many, 
and some systematic arrangement was needed to 
collect and disburse the contributions of the Church. 
While these movements were in progress some 
agitation arose in church polity. The discussion on 
elective presiding elders led to discussions as to the 
rights of the local preachers. They claimed that 
tlicy had a right to be heard, as they were preachers 
also, and worked more disinterestedly than the trav- 
eling ministers ; and that if officers were to be elect- 
ed they should in some way take part. The excite- 
ment spread to the membership to some extent, 
who suggested their rights to be represented when 
changes were proposed in church economy. In the 
midst of these discussions, the membership during 
the quadrcnnium increased forty-two thousand six 
hundred and forty-six; not quite so large a percent- 
age as in previous years, but giving a total of two 
hundred and fifty-six thousand eight hundred and 

io6 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

general conference of 1820. 

The General Conference of 1820 met in Baltimore, 
and was composed of eighty-nine delegates. % 

It approved the formation of the Tract and Mis- 
sionary Societies, and strongly recommended the 
Annual Conferences to found academies and univer- 
sities. The condition of the Church in Canada 
occupied considerable attention. During the war 
with Great Britain from 1812 to 1815, the preachers 
were much embarrassed. The Wesleyan Missionary 
Society embraced the opportunity of sending several 
ministers from England, who endeavored to alienate 
the membership from the American Church. On 
the return of peace, the Societies, generally, earnestly 
requested that ministers should be sent as formerly, 
but a few of the official members in the large cities 
preferred those from Great Britain. This led to a 
warm controversy. In 18 16 Messrs. Black and 
Bennett, the missionaries from England, visited the 
General Conference and addressed that body. In 
consequence of the representations made, a letter 
was sent to the British Conference explaining the 
position of the Church, but it received no answer. 
Subsequently, Bishop M'Kendree and Bishop George 
addressed the Wesleyan Missionary Society, but no 
response was given. At this Conference a number 
of memorials were received praying the Conference 

From 1808 to 1820. 107 

to continue its oversight. An address was sent, in 
reply, relating the efforts made to secure an under- 
standing with the British Conference, and promising 
continued attention. 

Subsequently, a motion was adopted directing the 
bishops, if they judged it best, to send a delegate to 
confer with the Wesleyans in England. Accord- 
ingly John Emory, afterward bishop, visited England 
during the ensuing season. Thus commenced the 
interchange of delegates, which has continued till 
this time. 

As the Church was enlarging it was judged best 
to elect an additional bishop; and Joshua Soule, 
then Book Agent at New York, received forty-seven 
votes and was elected. His competitor was Nathan 
Bangs, who received thirty-eight. This vote prob- 
ably represented the strength of the parties on the 
presiding elder question which subsequently created 
no little excitement. 

After the election, Bishop M'Kendree, who con- 
sidered quiet and rest essential for his health, retired 
from the Conference into the country, designing to 
return and be present at the ordination services. 
During his absence resolutions were introduced, 
similar to those rejected by previous General Con- 
ferences, on the election of presiding elders. After 
considerable discussion it became apparent that 
they would be defeated. An intimation was given 

io8 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

by one'of the members that the bishops had a com- 
promise plan in view, and a committee was appointed 
to wait upon and to confer with them. It was well 
known that Bishop George was in favor of the 
election of presiding elders ; Bishop Roberts con- 
sidered it an infringement of the constitutional pro- 
vision of the Discipline, but had no personal ob- 
jection to the plan, and felt unwilling to interpose 
any episcopal influence. Bishop George, after con- 
sultation, informed the committee that all hopes 
of agreement were at an end. The next morning 
he invited the committee to meet him on the ad 
journment of the Conference at noon. 

He met them alone, and explained his views, and 
they Imported the resolutions to the Conference, who, 
understanding it was a joint agreement of the bish- 
op's and of the committee, adopted them without 


debate, by a vote of sixty-one to twenty-five. Hear- 
ing of this action. Bishop M'Kendree returned to 
the Conference, and called the bishops together. 
He expressed to them his decided conviction that 
the action was in violation of the third restrictive 
rule, as it changed the plan of general superintend- 
ency. Bishop Roberts concurred with him in this 
view, but did not wish to make any personal oppo- 

Bishop George declined to express any opinion as 
to its infrinp^ement of the restriction, but expressed 

From 1808 to 1820. 109 

himself in favor of the plan. Bishop Soule, whose 
opinions were well known, had been elected by a 
majority of nine over Dr. Bangs, who at that time 
represented the party in favor of election. Being a 
man of decided convictions, and believing the action 
to be unconstitutional, he informed the bishops that 
he was unwilling to administer under it. This infor- 
mation Bishop M'Kendree communicated to the 
Conference. Considerable discussion followed, dur- 
ing which Bishop Soule declined to be ordained, and 
resigned the office of bishop. The majority of the 
Conference, finding that their action had been taken 
in consequence of incorrect information, or of misun- 
derstanding, voted to suspend the resolutions for 
four \ears, and they directed the bishops to admin- 
ister under the Discipline as it had previously stood. 
An effort was then made to establish some plan by 
which the constitutionality of measures might be 
properly considered. A resolution was passed rec- 
ommending the Annual Conferences to so alter the 
Discipline that if a majority of the bishops judged a 
measure unconstitutional they should return it to 
the Conference with their objections, and a majority 
of two thirds should be required for its final passage. 
This resolution, however, was not adopted by the 
constitutional majority of the Annual Conferences. 
After ]]ishop Soule had declined to be ordained, the 
bishops expressed their desire for another election 

no A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

to be he4d, as they greatly needed the assistance of an 
additional colleague. The majority at once expressed 
their purpose to re-elect Bishop Soule, and the mi- 
nority, finding them resolute, petitioned the bishops 
to withdraw their request and let the election be 
deferred for four years. Whereupon Bishops George 
and Roberts agreed that they would undertake to 
perform the extra labor. 

To prevent misunderstanding it should be stated 
that the only plan which was before the General 
Conference of 1816, and the plan on which the Con- 
ference of 1820 voted, gave to the bishops the right 
of nominating the presiding elders, and to the Con- 
ferences the right of confirming or rejecting without 
debate After the adoption of the Restrictive Rules 
we find, on examining the Journals, the names of 
such men as Ezekiel Cooper, John Emory, and Na- 
than Bangs attached only to motions or resolutions 
giving the bishop the right to nominate. 

From 1820 to 1832. iii 


FROM 1820 TO 1832. 

\FTER the close of the General Conference, 
Bishop M'Kendree, who had signified to the 
onference his purpose to do so, issued an address 
) the several Annual Conferences expressing his 
rong conviction of the unconstitutionality of the 
revision regarding the election of the presiding 
ders. But, for the sake of peace and harmony, he 
commended to the Annual Conferences such an 
teration of the restrictive rule as would allow the 
Ian which had been voted upon in the General Con- 
rence to be adopted. This was laid before the 
nnual Conferences and seven out of twelve ex- 
■essed their judgment that the resolutions were 
iconstitutional, and recommended the General Con- 
rcncc, in accordance with Bishop M'Kendree's ad- 
^c. to so alter the restrictive rule as to enable the 
cncral Conference to pass the suspended resolu- 
ons. Five of the Annual Conferences, the majority 
'which were in favor of the suspended resolutions, 
fused to act upon Bishop M'Kendree's address, or 
> memorialize the General Conference, and conse- 
icntly the plan of Bishop M'Kendree failed. They 

112 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

refused to take this action, believing that they were 
in the majority and could secure the desired action at 
"the next General Conference. These questions gave 
rise to an animated, and in some cases a bitter, con- 
troversy. The discussion extended to the nature and 
powers of the episcopacy ; and the membership of the 
Church became excited on the subject of lay repre- 
sentation in the General and Annual Conferences, 
and on the election of class leaders and stewards. 
The local preachers also claimed a representation in 
Conference. The "Wesleyan Repository," a month- 
ly publication, was commenced in Trenton, then in 
the bounds of the Philadelphia Conference, for the 
purpose of securing these changes. In its pages, 
inflanfmatory articles were published, and severe at- 
tacks were made upon the economy of the Church. 
The English system was represented as superior to 
the American, and it was claimed that the excite- 
ment was sweeping over the Church. The combi- 
nation was a formidable one. The dissatisfied trav- 
eling preachers had succeeded in exciting a large 
proportion of the local preachers on their right of 
representation, and a part of the membership on lay 
delegation. They determined also to carry the 
question into the election for delegates to the ensu- 
ing General Conference, where they expected to 
have a decided majority. 

Bishop M'Kendree, lest his presence at the north- 

From 1820 to 1832. I13 

■n and central Conferences, where the excitement 
as greatest, might be misunderstood, decHned to 
tend those sessions immediately preceding the 
eneral Conference, when delegates were about to 
I elected. Bishop Roberts refused to exercise 
ly influence whatever, while Bishop George ex- 
ressed his opinions freely in favor of the resolutions. 
[e gave to the ministers his judgment that their pas- 
ige was essential to the harmony and success of the 
hurch. The elections, however, preceding the ses- 
on of 1824 being finished, it was ascertained that 
le majority of delegates chosen was opposed to the 
)ntemplated alterations. 

During this period Augusta College was founded, 
I Kentucky, under the patronage of the Kentucky 
nd Ohio Conferences, being the first college suc- 
^ssfully organized after the failure at Abingdon and 
altiniore. J. P. Finley was its first president, and 

number of useful and distinguished men were 
Jucatcd in its halls. 

The increase in membership, notwithstanding the 

^italion, was quite encouraging. From 1820 to 

S:4 scvcnty-one thousand six hundred and forty- 

ivo were added to the Church, making the total 

icmbcrship three hundred and twenty-eight thou- 

md five hundred and twenty-three. 

114 -A. Hundred Years of Methodism. 

general conference of 1824. 

The assembling of the General Conference of 1824 
was a period of deep interest. Bishop M'Kendree's 
health was becoming more feeble, and enlarging 
work required more episcopal labor. After full dis- 
cussion two additional bishops were thought to be 
requisite for the work. On the first ballot no one had 
a majority. On the second ballot Bishop Soule was 
elected, and on the third ballot Bishop Hedding, the 
next highest being Beauchamp, of Ohio, and Dr. 
Fisk, who, after the second ballot, requested his name 
to be withdrawn. This shows that while the major- 
ity were in favor of Bishop Soule, they were not 
dispo*sed to make the election of bishops a party 
question, but elected also Bishop Hedding, who had 
previously favored the suspended resolutions. 

The Journal of the General Conference is some- 
what obscure, and we cannot clearly trace its decis- 
ion on the suspended resolutions. A resolution, 
offered by David Young, of Ohio, stating that the 
majority of the Conferences had pronounced them 
to be unconstitutional, and declaring them to be of 
no effect, it is said, was sustained. Subsequently, 
near the close of the session, they were, by a reso- 
lution, declared to be " unfinished business," and to 
be suspended until the next General Conference. 

That we may not recur to this subject .again, we 

From 1820 to 1832. 115 

may state that the General Conference of 1828 
formally rescinded the resolutions, declaring them 
nuL and void. From that time, until recently, 
there has been little discussion on this point of 
Discipline. It is also but just to say, that while 
Dr. Bangs represented the party in favor of the 
election, he subsequently changed his opinion upon 
its propriety. 

The " Methodist Magazine," which had been es- 
tablished in 1818, was the only periodical pubHshed 
by the Church. It was conducted somewhat after 
the plan of the English magazine, publishing ser- 
mons, religious essays, and general religious intelli- 
gence, but containing comparatively little Church 
news. For some time the Church desired a weekly 
periodical. As we have seen, in 1821 the "Wesley- 
an Repository" was started at Trenton, N. J. In 
New England, in 1823, "Zion's Herald" was printed 
at Boston, under the trustees of Wilbraham Acad- 
emy ; and shortly after the "Wesleyan Journal" 
was commenced in Charleston, S. C. The General 
Conference recommended the establishment of a 
^vcckly periodical, to be published by the Book 
A-. nts, as soon as it was deemed to be safe. Dr. 
Bangs was elected Book Agent, and Dr. Emory was 
Assistant Book Agent, and also editor of the "Quar« 
tcdy Review." 

As the Church continued to grow it became man- 

ii6 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ifest that the General Conference would be too large 
a body, unless the ratio of representation should be 
reduced. The Annual Conferences were requested, 
by the General Conference of 1824, to so change the 
restrictive rule as to allow a representation of not 
less than one for every twenty-one. According to 
the restrictive proviso it required, however, the con- 
sent of every Annual Conference to enact such a 
measure, and it was lost. 

Rev. Richard Reese and Rev. John Hannah were 
received by the General Conference as delegates 
from the British Conference. Their visit created a 
very favorable impression, and their religious serv- 
ices were highly esteemed. The bonds of union be- 
tween the two bodies were more closely cemented 
by this fraternal visit, and the bishops were author- 
ized to appoint a delegate to reciprocate the court- 
esy. Circumstances, however, prevented the selec- 
tion of a delegate. 


As soon as the General Conference had taken de- 
cided action against any modification of the elder- 
ship, and the majority of the Annual Conferences 
had decided that the proposed measures were un- 
constitutional, the most thoughtful leading men de- 
clined further agitation. The more violent com- 
menced the publication of inflammatory articles. 

From 1820 to 1832. 11; 

The "Wesleyan Repository," to which we have 
alluded, was transferred to Baltimore, and merged in 
the " Mutual Rights." Its course was so exciting 
that another periodical was started in Baltimore for 
the defense of the Church. It was termed the 
" Itinerant," and was edited by Dr. Thomas E. Bond. 
His racy editorials exercised a wide-spread influence, 
and under his leadership the friends of the Church 
rallied more vigorously in its defense. Those who 
were favoring reform turned their attention chiefly 
to the subject of lay delegation, as this was the only 
question in which they could, to any extent, interest 
the mass of the people. As some of the ministers 
had incurred grave censures because of articles 
which they published in the "Mutual Rights," 
"Union Societies" were formed among the mem- 
bership, both to spread their principles and support 
each other in case of prosecution by the Church. 
As articles which were considered untrue and slan- 
derous continued to be published in the "Mutual 
Rights," the character of one of the ministers was 
arrested by the Baltimore Conference. He refused 
to obey their directions, and was left for a year with- 
out an appointment. Still refusing to submit to their 
authority, the next year he was expelled, but gave no- 
tice of his appeal to the General Conference of 1828. 
The interval between 1824 and 1828 was one of 
great excitement. The whole economy of the 

ii8 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Church was severely assailed. Both bishops and 
presiding elders were denounced as tyrants, and the 
people were invited to contend for their rights. In 
1827 a convention was called in Baltimore, which 
laid down a platform of principles, and appointed a 
committee with authority to call a second conven- 
tion when they should deem it advisable. 

In 1826 the first weekly periodical published by 
the Church was commenced in New York, and called 
the "Christian Advocate." The other two papers 
were soon merged into it by purchase, and its name 
was changed to the " Christian Advocate and Jour- 
nal, and Zion's Herald." Being published by the 
Book Room, and ably edited, it soon acquired a 
large cir(?ulation. For several years it was the only 
weekly periodical published under the authority of 
the General Conference, and it is still its leading 


The General Conference of 1828 assembled, for the 
first time, west of the Alleghany Mountains, meeting 
in the city of Pittsburgh. It had become evident 
to every thoughtful mind that a secession must prob- 
ably take place. The Conference heard the appeal 
from the decision of the Baltimore Conference, 
and affirmed its judgment. Resolutions were also 
adopted disapproving the course pursued by writ- 
ers in the " Mutual Rights," and the membership 

From 1820 to 1832. 119 

were requested not to give it their patronage. They 
also issued to the people a conciliatory address 
explaining the economy of the Church and urging 
moderation. As a number of persons had been ex- 
pelled for taking part in the " Union Societies," 
and in acts of insubordination arising therefrom, the 
Conference directed that, if proper concessions were 
made, they might be restored to membership on 
application within six months. Bishop Hedding, 
who had formerly favored some modification, and 
had voted with the minority, was now the most 
severely assailed by his former friends. Consider- 
ing himself misrepresented and slandered by an 
article in the " Mutual Rights," which was written 
by a leading minister and member of the General 
Conference, he brought the matter before the atten- 
tion of that body. The parties had an interview, 
and the writer acknowledged that he had done in- 
justice to the bishop. He admitted that some of 
his inferences were incorrect, and that, as he found 
his premises were faulty, his inferences might all be 
erroneous. The Conference fully sustained the posi- 
tion and administration of the bishop. The most 
ungracious assault, however, was that which was 
made upon Bishop George by Alexander M'Caine. 
Such, generally, is the lot of those who, while favor- 
ing partial changes, adhere to the vital principles 
of an organization. They must either go with the 

I20 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

reformers* to the point of destruction, or be regai'ded 
as traitors to their interests. 

During the session, a motion was made to revive 
the question of the election of presiding elders, but 
it was promptly, and by a large majority, laid upon 
the table. The General Conference requested the 
Annual Conferences to concur in changing the 
restrictions, so that, on the recommendation of three 
fourths of the members of the Annual Conferences 
present and voting, two thirds of the ensuing Gen- 
eral Conference might adopt an amendment. In 
this request the Annual Conferences subsequently 
concurred, and since that date it has continued to 
be the law of the Church. 


The attention of the Conference was also called 
to the condition of the work in Canada. Formerly 
that territoiy was included partly in the New En- 
gland and partly in the Genesee Conferences. At 
the session of 1824 a new Conference was instituted 
bounded by the line of Upper Canada. In 1S2S 
that Conference forwarded a memorial, request- 
ing permission to have the work in Canada consti- 
tuted a separate and distinct Church. They alleged 
that they labored under great embarrassment, in con- 
sequence of their union with a foreign ecclesiastical 
government. At the instance of Dr. Ryerson a 

Fro7n 1820 to \%12. 121 

paper was prepared setting forth these difficulties, 
and resolving that the compact existing between the 
Canada Annual Conference and the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church was dissolved by mutual consent, and 
that the members in Canada were at liberty to form 
themselves into a separate Church. 

The Conference believed that they had no right 
to divide the Church, but assuming that the union 
had been voluntary, and that the relation of the 
Canada Conference was missionan*, rather than an 
integral part of the Church, a resolution was adopted 
that if the Canada Conference should declare itself 
an independent Church, and should elect a superin- 
tendent, the bishops should be authorized to ordain 

In October, 182S. the Canada Conference held its 
annual session, under the presidency of Bishop Red- 
ding, and formed itself into the Canada Methodist 
Episcopal Church, adopting the Discipline of the 
old Church as the basis of its constitution and dis- 
cipline. It remained independent for several years, 
but the Wesleyans of England having offered mis- 
sionar>- and other help, a union was effected in 18;:; 
and the Conference became part of the Wesleyan 
Church of Great Britain. Several ministers, and a 
number of members, dissatisfied with this action, re- 
organized the Methodist Episcopal Church of Cana- 
da, and have maintained their separate existence. 

122 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Before the close of the General Conference of 
1828, Dr. Nathan Bangs was elected editor of the 
" Christian Advocate," John Emory was elected 
principal Book Agent and. editor of the " Quarterly- 
Review," and Beverly Waugh assistant Book Agent. 
Dr. William Capers of South Carolina was chosen as 
delegate to the British Conference. 

The increase in membership, notwithstanding the 
intensity of the excitement, had amounted to nearly 
ninety thousand members in the quadrennium, show- 
ing a membership of four hundred and eighteen 
thousand four hundred and thirty-eight. 


The attion of the Conference was accepted by the 
" Reformers " as a clear indication that the Church 
would maintain its general order and discipHne. 
Giving up all hopes of thereafter being able to con- 
trol its counsels, they prepared for a secession. A 
convention was called by the committee to which we 
previously alluded, which met in Baltimore in No- 
vember, 1828. They had claimed in their publica- 
tions, that if not a majority, at least a very large 
minority, embracing the intelligence and wealth of 
the Church, was in sympathy with them ; and they 
expected that the Church they were about to organ- 
ize would far excel the mother Church. Contrary to 
their expectation, the convention was attended by 

From 1820 to 1832. 123 

comparatively few. They formed Articles of Asso- 
ciation, under the title of the "Associate Methodist 
Churches," and a preparatory Discipline was adopt- 
ed. Large secessions took place in Baltimore, Pitts- 
burgh, Cincinnati, and in several towns in different 
parts of the country. The leaders were, however, 
much disappointed in finding that these secessions 
were chiefly confined to the cities, and that in the 
aggregate they were but small. Many, who had 
sympathized with them as to some of the modifica- 
tions advocated, preferred the peace and quiet of the 
Church to uncertain agitations. We have no means 
of ascertaining precisely how many seceded, though 
it was supposed that from 1828 to 1834 there may 
have been thirty thousand. Among these, especially 
in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati, were some 
of the most able and wealthy laymen, while among 
the ministers were such leaders as Nicholas Sne- 
then, Asa Shinn, Cornelius Springer, and George F. 
Brown. In many places the Societies were divided, 
>ind the force of the Church was greatly weakened. 
In some localities, church edifices, not having been 
carefully deeded, were taken possession of and held 
by the seceding party. A number of suits followed 
^vllh varying results, according to the character of 
the deeds and other circumstances, and a bitter and 
pn.tractcd controversy ensued. The old Church 
^vas attacked and denounced as a system of tyranny, 

124 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

as being antirepublican, and as denying its ministers 
and members their just rights. Not only was this 
course pursued by the seceders, whose feehngs had 
become embittered, but history compels us to say, 
that the ministers of almost every other denomina- 
tion joined with the secessionists in denouncing the 
Church. From their pulpits, in many places, and 
through their presses, they proclaimed its overthrow, 
and rejoiced in its apparently approaching dissolu- 
tion. The friends of the Church were severely tried, 
but they resolutely maintained the economy of the 
Church with which they had been identified. They 
believed it to be the most efficient system which 
had been devised for the rapid propagation of the 
GospSl, and they were content to be denounced, if 
they might be successful in winning souls to Christ. 
Whoever carefully examines the Minutes of the 
Church, will be surprised to find, in comparing the 
reports of the membership from year to year, that 
he can discover no indication of a secession. The 
effect of quiet and union in the Church, the restora- 
tion of confidence and brotherly love among its 
members, the devotion and enterprise of its min- 
isters, more than counterbalanced the loss which 
had been sustained. Bishop Asbury, at the se- 
cession of Mr. O'Kelly and his friends, quietly re- 
marked, " If some of our children leave us, God will 
give us more." The statistics show that, while the 

From 1820 to 1832. 125 

* Reformers," as they termed themselves, were leav- 
ing the Church, in 1829 there was an increase of 
29,305, and in 1830 an increase of 28,410, besides 
the loss of the Canada Conference, which numbered 
9,678. The increase during 1831 was 37,114, and in 
1832 it was 35,479, making in the four years from 
1828 to 1832 — the chief period of secession — an in- 
crease in ministers from 1,642 to 2,200, and in mem- 
bers from 418,438 to 548,593, being more than 
130,000 in the four years. This was by far the larg- 
est increase the Church had ever realized in the 
same period, so that the secession, so far as num- 
bers were concerned, scarcely occasioned a ripple on 
the surface. The Church, united, compact, and 
powerful, was prepared for greater triumphs in the 
future. Thus history teaches us, that the greatest 
misfortune that can befall any organization is to be 
divided within itself. Secessions, however large, are 
far less dangerous than contention and strife within. 


Early in the summer of 1828 Bishop George was 
taken ill, and died at Staunton, Va., August 23. He 
^vas a man of great simplicity of manners, and was a 
'very pathetic, powerful, and successful preacher, 
greatly beloved in life, and very extensively lamented 
in death." 

126 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


The Church having largely increased in numbers, 
as also in means, and its periodicals affording a me- 
dium for consultation and discussion as to measures 
of improvement, its attention was more fully turned 
to the subject of education. We have already al- 
luded to the organization of the earlier seminaries, as 
well as to the founding of Augusta College. In 183a 
a property at Middletown, Conn., which had been 
occupied as a military school, and which was then 
supposed to be worth about thirty thousand dollars, 
was offered to the Church, on condition of its raising 
forty thousand dollars more, to commence a univer- 
sity. • The offer was accepted by the New England 
and New York Conferences, and the institution was 
opened under the presidency of Dr. Wilbur Fisk. 
During this period, also, a number of academies 
sprang into existence, and from this era we date the 
commencement of educational activity. 


The General Conference of 1832 met in the city 
of Philadelphia. The disturbing element having se- 
ceded from the Church, the session was a remarka- 
bly quiet one. James O. Andrew, of Georgia, and 
John Emory, of Baltimore Conference, but who at 
that time was not a delegate, were elected bishops. 

From 1820 to 1832. 127 

lie election of Emory in 1832, and subsequently of 
isk in 1836, and of Bishop Janes in 1844, were the 
ily instances in which the elected bishops were not 
embers of the General Conference. Both Bishop 
ndrew and Bishop Emory were men of decided 
lility. They possessed great energy of character, 
lited with superior executive power. Bishop Em- 
y, especially, was a man of high intellectual culture. 
We find at this session a large number of petitions 
esented asking an amendment of the rule on the 
bject of temperance so as to make it more thor- 
igh and stringent, but no decided action was taken, 
tie population having largely increased in the West, 
1 earnest demand had been made for a western pe- 
)dical, and the General Conference authorized the 
tablishment of the "Western Christian Advocate," 
which Thomas A. Morris, subsequently bishop, 
IS elected editor. John F. Wright and Leroy 
vormsted were elected Western Book Agents. 

128 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


FROM 1832 TO 1844. 

A FTER the Conference of 1 832 the Church moved 
-^-^ quietly and steadily forward, though there were 
some discussions in reference to temperance, and still 
more in reference to slavery. The latter question, 
especially in the Northern Conferences, was from 
year to year assuming increased importance, and, in 
some places, producing excitement. The increase 
from 1832 to 1836 was one hundred and two thou- 
sand.and eighty-five, being a little less than that 
of the previous period. 


During this quadrennium the Church sustained 
severe losses. Bishop M'Kendree had for many 
years been very feeble. He was born in I757» "^^^ 
ordained bishop in 1808, and had superintended the 
Church for twenty-seven years. The writer well re- 
members to have heard him address the Pittsburgh 
Conference, which sat in Wheeling, in 1829, and can 
bear witness to his patriarchal appearance, his sim- 
plicity of manners, and his fervor and pathos of ad- 
dress. He gave at that time, as the early bishops 

From 1832 to 1844. 129 

had been in the habit of giving, a sketch of the 
work in the different Conferences which he had vis- 
ited. This service, though then interesting, has been, 
in later years, superseded by the diffusion of our pe- 
riodical literature. For several years he had been 
able to do but Httle episcopal work. He preached 
his last sermon at Nashville, Tenn., November 23, 
1S34, and died March 5, 1835, repeating, "All is 
\\t\\ for time and for eternity." Next to Bishop 
Asbury, he had done more for the extension of the 
Church, and for its permanent advancement, than any 
other man. He had traveled over all parts of the 
continent, and endured difficulties which would have 
dismayed one of less energy and heroism. He was 
a firm yet kind administrator, and a man of deep 
and positive convictions. As a preacher he pos- 
sessed unusual power, swaying vast audiences by his 
eloquence, and great results every-where followed 
his ministrations. 


The same year the Church mourned the decease 
also of Bishop Emory. He was a younger man, and 
was taken away in the prime of life. He was born 
in 1788, in Maryland, was classically educated, and 
had studied for the legal profession. In 18 10 he 
joined the Philadelphia Conference, and was so 
honored by his brethren, that in 18 16 he was elected 

130 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

a member of the General Conference. In 1820 he 

was appointed the first delegate to the British Con- 
ference, and four years afterward was elected Assist- 
ant Book Agent. In 1828 he was made principal 
Agent, and also editor of the " Quarterly Review " 
and books. In 1832 he was elected bishop. In all 
these various offices he was characterized by great 
intellectual clearness and pre-eminent skill in admin- 
istration. His residence, after he was elected bish- 
op, was near Baltimore. Early on the morning of 
the i6th of December, 1835, he started from home 
for the city, and a few hours afterward he was found 
dying on the highway, having been, by some acci- 
dent, thrown from his carriage. He was of slight 
frame, but well proportioned. His nervous system 
was so exceedingly sensitive, that he could scarcely 
sleep if there was any noise in an adjacent room ; 
yet so energetic was he, and rigorously systematic, 
that he accomplished a vast amount of work. In 
his earlier years he had favored some modifications 
of Church polity, but as the discussions advanced, 
he became the most able and successful defender of 
the fathers, and his name is connected with the 
origination or the development of many of our 
grandest Church enterprises. 

From 1832 to 1844. 131 

In 1833 the " Pittsburgh Conference Journal" was 
originated and edited by Dr. Charles Elliott. The 
population of Western Pennsylvania being chiefly 
Calvinistic, (many of them being emigrants from 
Ireland and Scotland,) the doctrines and polity of 
the Church were frequently and bitterly attacked. 
This Journal did good service in resisting these at- 
tacks, and in explaining the doctrines of the Church 
and maintaining its economy. It is still continued, 
though the title has been changed to " The Pitts- 
burgh Christian Advocate." 


That year, also, was remarkable for the enlarge- 
ment of educational facilities. The property of 
Dickinson College, at Carlisle, was proffered to the 
Baltimore and Philadelphia Conferences, on certain 
conditions, which they accepted ; and this old insti- 
tution, commenced in 1783, passed under the patron- 
aL;c of the Church. Dr. Durbin was elected its 
first president. Alleghany College, in Meadville, 
Pennsylvania, was also tendered to the Church and 
accepted in lieu of Madison College, which had 
K'liiierly existed in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Ran- 
dolph Macon College, at Boydtown, Virginia, and 
L.ii;iange Cullege, at Lagrange, Alabama, were also 

132 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

founded the same year, the former under the presi- 
dency of Dr. Olin, and the latter under that of Dr. 
Paine, since bishop in the Church South. 


In 1833 a great impulse was given to the mission- 
ary cause by the visit of some Flat Head Indians to 
St. Louis, ]\Iissouri. They had accidentally heard 
from a stranger, during one of their religious festi- 
vals, that the white men had a book which told them 
about the Great Spirit and about the future world. 
They appointed several of their number, who crossed 
the Rocky Mountains, and after a long and tedious 
journey reached the Missouri River, which was, at 
that ^ime, on the borders of the civilized world. 
The news of their visit spread rapidly over the 
country, and Dr. Fisk published an appeal in their 
behalf. Several young men volunteered to go as 
missionaries, and contributions were made to that 
end, increasing nearly twofold the previous collec- 

In 1835 a mission to Liberia, Africa, was also pro- 
jected, and Rev. Melville B. Cox was selected as the 
first missionary. He had scarcely entered, however, 
upon his work, which opened brightly before him, 
when, prostrated by the fever of that climate, from 
his dying bed he sent back to the Church that thrill- 
ing utterance, " Though a thousand fall, let not Africa 

From 1832 to 1844. 133 

be given up ! " His place was soon supplied by 
others, and the mission developed into an Annual 


In February, 1836, the Book Concern in New 
York was consumed by fire. The loss sustained was 
supposed to be about two hundred and fifty thou- 
sand dollars. Unfortunately the insurance was but 
partially recovered, as, owing to a previous severe 
fire, many of the companies were either bankrupt or 
embarrassed. The sympathy of the public, however, 
was excited, and subscriptions amounting to nearly 
ninety thousand dollars were made. 


The General Conference of 1836 met in the city 
of Cincinnati. In addition to the ordinary business 
brought before the attention of the Conference a dis- 
cussion unexpectedly arose in reference to slavery. A 
number of petitions had been forwarded to that body 
asking a change in the General Rule so as to make 
the Discipline more stringent. In the early history 
of the Church very stringent rules had been adopted, 
and a strong protest had been entered against slavery; 
but as it was believed to be impossible to execute 
those rules in the South, they were soon suspended. 
The utterances of the Church ever remained strong 
against the evil of slavery ; but as the membership 

134 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

increased in numbers and in wealth they became 
more or less connected with it. At first its members 
became slaveholders by inheritance, and gradually by 
purchase, professing a benevolent aim. Some of its 
ministers, also, became slaveholders, by inheritance, 
or by marriage. As the laws of many of the South- 
ern States forbade emancipation, both members and 
ministers were tolerated. But, where the law allowed 
the minister to free his slaves, he was required to 
do so. The spirit of slavery, however, like evils of 
every kind, became aggressive. Its influence ex- 
tended both in the Church and in the State. The 
North was compelled, under constitutional provis- 
ions, to return fugitive slaves, and scenes were en- 
acted Vhich stirred the hearts of many. As the sub- 
ject was discussed more widely, petitions were cir- 
culated and signed for the restoration of the early 
rules, while abolition societies were organized in 
many of the Northern States to secure political 
action. Some were also organized in the Churches 
to influence Church action in the same direction. It 
is not surprising, that the discussion of this subject 
created intense excitement in the South, syhere the 
slave owners supposed their property and their lives 
were in jeopardy : it is surprising, however, that so 
much feeling was excited in the North. Antislavery 
meetings were frequently broken up by violence ; 
antislavery lecturers were mobbed ; antislavery 

From 1832 to 1844. I35 

presses were broken up and thrown into the river ; 
and, in some cases, houses and public halls were 
burned. Notwithstanding the opposition, agitation 
increased, and the antislavery sentiment of the coun- 
try constantly received accessions. 

During this Conference in Cincinnati a general 
antislavery meeting was called in the city, and two 
members of the body attended and took part in the 
discussion. A great excitement followed. It was 
supposed by some that they had originated the 
meeting, at which some of the speakers denounced 
the Church and used opprobrious epithets against 
its ministers. Be that as it may, the Conference 
passed, by a vote of one hundred and twenty to 
fourteen, a resolution disapproving the conduct of 
the two members, as misrepresenting the sentiments 
of the body. They also disclaimed, on the part of 
the Conference, any right to interfere with the civil 
or political relations between master and slave. 
But such censure and such resolutions only added 
to the excitement which followed. Prior to the ses- 
sion a paper, called " Zion's Watchman," had been 
established in New York, for the purpose of influ- 
encing church sentiment and securing decided action 
against slavery. It published an exaggerated view 
of the action of the General Conference, and added 
to the antislavery agitation within the borders of the 
Cliurch. In a short period it commenced also an 

136 A HuxDRED Years of Methodism. 

assault .upon church discipline and order, and was 
ultimately instrumental in producing a secession 
from the Church. 

The Book Concern having been burned, as we 
have stated, early in the year, some friends in 
Baltimore tendered to the General Conference a lot 
of ground for the erection of suitable buildings in 
that city. A similar proposition was made by an 
individual in Philadelphia. After full consideration, 
the Conference resolved to continue its location in 
the city of New York. 

Since the election of any bishop, M'Kendree and 
Emory had died, and additional help was needed. 
A resolution was passed to elect three additional 
bishoj^. On the first ballot, Beverly Waugh of 
Baltimore, then Book Agent at New York, and 
Wilbur Fisk, President of the Wesleyan University, 
were elected. After successive ballotings, Thomas 
A. Morris of Cincinnati was also chosen. Dr. Fisk 
was then absent in Europe, and on his return de- 
clined accepting the office, believing it to be his 
duty to remain president of the university. Dr. 
Nathan Bangs was elected resident Missionary Sec- 
retary. Prior to that time he had attended to the 
correspondence of the Society without compensa- 
tion, having added it to his other official duties. 

Dr. Lord had been received by the Conference 
of 1836 as a delegate from England, and in return 

From 1832 to 1844. 137 

Dr. Fisk, who, as we have stated, was then absent 
in Europe, was appointed to return the fraternal 
courtesy. Dr. Durbin, who had been elected editor 
of the "Advocate" in 1832, having accepted the 
presidency of Dickinson College, Dr. Samuel Luck- 
ey and John A. ColHns were elected editors of the 
" Advocate," and George Lane and Thomas Mason 
were chosen as Book Agents. In the West, John 
F. Wright and Leroy Swormstedt were re-elected 
Book Agents, and Dr. Charles Elliott was elected 
editor of the " Western Advocate." 


From 1836 to 1840 the antislavery excitement con- 
tinued to increase. Resolutions were introduced 
into various Annual Conferences condemning slav- 
ery and asking for changes in the Discipline. Some- 
times resolutions were presented censuring the acts 
of other Conferences, especially in the South, and in 
some instances condemning the administration. 
Some of the bishops, believing that such resolutions 
were injurious to the harmony of the Church, and 
that one Annual Conference had no right to censure 
the proceedings of another, declined to entertain 
them. This action gave rise to animated discussion, 
touching the rights of Annual Conferences, and the 
prerogatives of the superintendents. Others of the 
bishops, entertaining the same views of the resolu- 

138 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

tions, after deciding them out of order vacated the 
chair, allowing the Conferences, informally, to express 
their judgment. This course was more satisfactory 
to the Conferences generally. 

Notwithstanding this excitement in the Church, 
which prevailed chiefly among the Conferences of 
New England and of Central New York, there was 
a constant increase in numbers. The membership 
amounted in 1840 to seven hundred and ninety-five 
thousand four hundred and forty-five, being an in- 
crease in the four years of nearly one hundred and 
forty-five thousand. During this period, also, a 
number of literary institutions were commenced, 
among which were the Indiana Asbury University, 
and several institutions in the South. 


The General Conference of 1840 met in the city 
of Baltimore. Such had been the extension of the 
work that there were then twenty-eight Annual Con- 
ferences, and five others were constituted by that 
body. The session was in many respects a very im- 
portant one. Rev. Robert Newton was received as 
a delegate from the British Conference. He deliv- 
ered several interesting addresses before the Confer- 
ence, and preached several sermons, sometimes in 
the open air, to immense crowds, both to their edi- 
fication and dehght. Thus the attachment between 

From 1832 to 1844. 139 

lie bodies of Wesleyan Methodism was constantly 

Petitions were presented to this Conference asking 
tie extension of the ministerial term from two to 
liree years, but the committee reported unfavora- 
ly, and no change was made. 

The bishops laid before the Conference their de- 
ision upon the question of their right to reject mat- 
ers which were not prescribed in the duties of an 
Lnnual Conference, or which were not connected 
rith the interests of the Churches under their care, 
'he Conference sustained the administration of the 
ishops, and decided that it was their right, as ad- 
linistrators, not to entertain any business which did 
ot refer to the duties of the Conference as prescribed 
1 the Discipline, or which did not arise in connection 
'ith the interests of the Churches in their bounds, 
"he same principle was extended to Quarterly Con- 
;rences. Presiding elders were empowered to rule 
ut from Quarterly Conferences resolutions not per- 
lining to their legitimate action. In these bodies, 
owever, from time to time, such business has been 
Uroduced informally, or they have expressed their 
pinions at the close of their regular sessions. 

The subject of slavery was again brought to the 
Ltcntion of the Conference by the increased num- 
er of applications containing the most earnest re- 
uests for an alteration in the Discipline. Owing 

I40 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

to conflicts, which sometimes occurred between the 
Quarterly Conferences and the presiding elders, that 
office was again called in question, and we find peti- 
tions presented, for the first time in twelve years, 
asking for their election by the Annual Conferences, 
and also praying for a moderate episcopacy. All 
these petitions came from circuits and charges which 
had been excited by the antislavery discussion. 
Resolutions, asking for a change of Discipline upon 
the subject of slavery, had passed the New England 
Conference, and had been sent to the other Annual 
Conferences for concurrence, but they had not been 
adopted by the Conferences generally. The New 
York Conference also passed a resolution asking an 
alteration of the rule in reference to spirituous Hq- 
uors. A number of memorials were presented on the 
subject of lay representation, and a special committee 
was appointed, to whom all petitions touching that 
subject, as well as the presiding eldership and the 
episcopacy, were referred. The committee subse- 
quently reported adversely to any change, and their 
report was adopted. 

The Liberia Annual Conference forwarded a me- 
morial asking for the appointment of a bishop to su- 
perintend their work, but the General Conference did 
not deem it expedient. In 1836, a resolution had 
been passed requesting one of the bishops to visit 
Africa. At this session, Bishop Waugh presented to 

Prom 1832 to 1844. 141 

the Conference the reasons why the superintendents 
had not been able to comply. By a rfsing vote, the 
Conference accepted the explanation as satisfactory. 

At the suggestion of the Rev. L. L. Hamline, 
subsequently bishop, the Ohio Conference had me- 
morialized the General Conference to establish a pe- 
riodical for women. The committee reported favor- 
ably, and the Western Book Agents were authorized 
to commence such a periodical, as soon as sufficient 
patronage could be obtained. In consequence of 
this action the " Ladies' Repository " was com- 
menced, and L. L. Hamline was appointed its first 

Owing to difficulties arising out of the slavery agi- 
tation, the New England Conference sent a memo- 
rial, asking that the Discipline should be so altered 
that a bishop could not transfer a member from one 
Conference to another in opposition to his own 
wishes, or in opposition to the wishes of the ma- 
jority of the Conference to which the transfer was 
proposed. The committee, however, reported ad- 
versely, and the General Conference adopted their 
rci)ort, deeming that the transfer of ministers was 
essential for the strengthening of the weak points, 
and for the preservation of connectional union. It 
was supposed that this petition grew out of a sug- 
gested transfer of the editor of "Zion's Watchman," 
a member of the New England Conference, who was 

142 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

then residing in the city of New York. If so trans- 
ferred he would become amenable to the New York 

A question also arose, as to the admission of the 
testimony of colored members in Church trials, where 
the law of the State did not allow them to be wit- 
nesses in civil cases. The question created an ani- 
mated discussion, which ended in the passage of a 
resolution against the expediency of admitting such 
testimony, by a vote of seventy-six for, to seventy- 
four against. The passage of this resolution, striking 
directly at the religious character of members of the 
Church, and their rights as such members, added 
largely to the antislavery excitement in the North. 

Undfr the active superintendence of Dr. Bangs, 
the Missionary Society had enlarged its labors. It 
had extended its field among the colored people in 
the South, and among the Indians both in the 
South and West. The removal of a number of 
large tribes to the western frontier had increased 
the public interest in them. Measures were taken 
for the establishment of schools, and church assist- 
ance was requested. Missions had also been estab- 
lished, in 1836, in South America, at Rio Janeiro, 
Montevideo, and Buenos Ayres, especially among the 
English speaking populations. This enlargement 
of work was supposed to demand additional secreta- 
ries. Dr. Bangs was continued in his office as Cor- 

From 1832 to 1844. 143 

responding Secretary; William Capers was elected 
for the South, and Edward R. Ames for the Wpst. 
Thomas ^^lason and George Lane were elected Book 
Agents at New York. Dr. George Peck was elected 
editor of the " Quarterly Review," and Dr. Thomas 
E. Bond, a local preacher of Baltimore, who had ed- 
ited the " Itinerant" with such distinguished ability, 
was chosen editor of the " Christian Advocate," with 
George Coles as assistant. J. F. Wright and L. 
Swormstedt were elected Book Agents at Cincin- 
nati, and Dr. Elliott was re-elected as editor of the 
" Western Christian Advocate." A remarkable work 
had commenced in 1836 among the Germans, under 
the leadership of Dr. Nast, and in 1837 the "Chris- 
tian Apologist," a German periodical, was started by 
the Book Concern at Cincinnati. So much had been 
accomplished by the movement, that the General 
I "iifcrence, at this session, elected him as editor of 
the paper and of German books. 

The Conference appointed Bishop Soule as a 
delcL^atc to the British Wesleyan Conference, and 
authorized him to select his traveling companion. 
Thereupon he appointed Thomas Sargent, of Balti- 
more Conference. Bishop Hedding was also re- 
quested to represent the Church at the Wesleyan 
Mctliutli^t Church of Upper Canada in 1841, or, 
being unable to do so, that the superintendent 
should appoint in his place a suitable delegate. 

144 A Hundred Years of Methodsim. 

FROM 1840 TO 1844. 

The period from 1840 to 1844 was remarkable for 
the number of revivals which prevailed in different 
parts of the country. The increase of the Church 
during that time far exceeded any thing known in 
its pi^evious history: being in 1841, 57,473 ; in 1842, 
60,883; in 1843, 154,624; and in 1844, 102,831— 
making a total increase in the four years of more than 
375,000. A part of this increase was doubtless owing 
to a highly excited state of the public mind. The 
Second Adventists were very active. Their leader, 
Mr. Miller, had predicted that the personal coming 
of Christ, and the destruction of the world, would 
take pface in 1843. He had studied the prophecies 
with great care, and had so arranged a table of dates 
and events as to make his statements appear quite 
plausible. The natural love of the marvelous and 
the supernatural inflamed the public curiosity, and, 
especially when united with an indefinite fear of the 
invisible, which instinctively rises in the mind, had 
greatly excited many communities. Many thought 
they saw indications in the skies of coming ch«inges, 
and every sight or sound unusual was seized upon 
as an omen of impending events. The churches 
were more than usually frequented, and many, no 
doubt, were seriously affected. Of these a great 
part, doubtless, retained their serious convictions 

From 1832 to 1844. ^45 

and became true Christians, exemplifying in subse- 
quent life their devotion to the Saviour; others, 
however, influenced by temporary excitement, find- 
ing themselves deceived in their expectation when 
the set time had passed, became skeptical, not only 
as to the second coming of Christ, but as to the 
truth of divine revelation. As might be expected, 
many of these fell away, and there followed a period 
of apathy and decrease in the Church. 

The antislavery excitement continued to increase 
in intensity. Various associations were organized, 
especially in New England and Central New York, 
to concentrate and intensify the opposition to slavery 
in the Church. These associations ultimately led to 
a secession. In 1842 the Wesleyan Methodist 
Church was organized, under the leadership of 
Rev. ^lessrs. Scott, Horton, Sunderland, and others. 
It accepted the doctrines and general usages of the 
parent Church, but rejected many features of its 
Discipline. In its organization were no bishops or 
presiding ciders, and it made non-slaveholding a test 
<>t Church membership. Strong and persistent ef-- 
forts were made to induce the membership of the 
Church to secede ; and both among ministers and 
members the indications seemed, for a time, to be 
formidable ; yet, when the secession occurred, it was 
found to be comparatively small. As we have already 

^ecn. the increase in membership was so large as to 
10 i- & 

146 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


far more than compensate for the number of those 
who withdrew. They estabhshed a paper called the 
" True Wesleyan ; " and subsequently a Book Con- 
cern, in Syracuse, New York. It was supposed at 
the time that within two or three years about twenty 
thousand members withdrew, but we have no accu« 
rate statistics on this subject. Among their minis- 
ters were a number of men of more than usual power, 
such as Orange Scott, and Drs. Lee, Prindle, and 
Matlack. The organization, however, did not pros- 
per very greatly, and after the Southern separation, 
and the strong antislavery position of the Church, a 
number of its leading ministers and members returned 
to the fold. 


Early in 1843 Bishop Roberts closed a long and 
eventful history, having traveled as a bishop from 
1 8 16 to 1843. He was abundant in labors, amiable, 
affable, dignified, and deeply devoted. He had been 
instrumental in accomplishing great good, especially 
in the West. His patriarchal appearance and apos- 
tolical simplicity were every-where recognized. The 
year prior to his death he had visited the. Indian mis- 
sions west of Arkansas and Missouri, and had mani- 
fested a deep interest in their prosperity. After a se- 
vere illness, resulting in typhoid fever, he died at his 
residence neac Lawrence, Indiana, March 26, 1843. 

From 1832 to 1844. 147 


The secession of the dissatisfied antislavery ele- 
ment had left the Church in entire peace and qjiet, 
and when the delegates were elected to the General 
Conference of 1844 there was little, if any, antici- 
pation of a prolonged or exciting session. In every 
department there seemud to be prosperity. Revivals 
had prevailed, numbers increased, means accumu- 
lated, churches were being built, and the literary 
institutions were increasing in numbers as well as in 
a higher grade of scholarship. The periodical press 
was extending its issues, and the publishing depart- 
ment was sending forth many valuable volumes. In 
New England, and in Northern and Western New 
York, there had been some damage sustained by the 
secession : but the Church, left in peace and union, 
was rapidly regaining, even in those sections, the 
ground which it had lost. 


The General Conference met on the first of May 
in the city of New York, and it was soon found that 
the session would be a stormy one. The Baltimore 
Conference, a few weeks before the commencement 
of the session, had suspended one of its members, 
Rev. F. A. Harding, from the ministry. The chaij^c 
against him was, that he had refused to manumit 

148 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

certaifl slaves received by marriage. He appealed 
to the General Conference, and the case was argued 
with great ability. The Southern preachers con- 
tended for his right to hold the slaves received 
through his wife. But the decision of the Baltimore 
Conference was sustained by the decisive vote of 
one hundred and seventeen to fifty-six. This action 
produced no little excitement throughout the South, 
and even upon the border. It would not, probably, 
had it stood alone, have been followed by any very 
serious consequences ; but preceding a case of much 
greater magnitude, it became invested with a degree 
of interest to which, of itself, it had no claim. 

Shortly before the session of the Conference 
Bishop Andrew, who resided in Georgia, married a 
lady who was an owner of slaves, and thus himself 
became a slave-holder. As soon as the report reached 
the General Conference, a resolution was adopted 
directing the Committee on Episcopacy to inquire as 
to the facts. They called upon Bishop Andrew, re- 
ceived his statement, and made their report. As 
we have heretofore stated, ministers residing in the 
States where emancipation was forbidden by law 
were not compelled by the Church to emancipate 
their slaves. The bishop, however, was at liberty 
to select his own place of residence, and the Confer- 
ence saw no reason why he should continue to reside 
where emancipation was impracticable. It would 

From 1832 to 1844. 149 

become his duty to preside in the Northern Confer- 
ences as well as in the Southern, and his connection 
with slavery would seriously impair his usefulness. 
It was generally supposed that he would either 
emancipate his slaves or resign his office, and it is 
probable that his own preference would have in- 
duced this action. He was, however, exceedingly 
popular as a bishop ; and as he exercised a com- 
manding influence, his brethren urged him to stand 
firm, and to settle their rights, as they termed them, 
in his case. The discussion lasted for several days, 
and various efforts at compromise were ineffectually 
made. Ultimately the Conference passed a resolu- 
tion, declaring it to be the sense of the Conference, 
that Bishop Andrew " desist from the exercise of his 
office so long as this impediment remains." The 
resolution was adopted by a vote of one hundred 
and ten to sixty-cii;ht. 

After this action was taken, Dr. Capers moved a 
series of resolutions recommendini^ the se\ eral .An- 
nual Conferences to alter the constitutional restric- 
tions so as to allow the formation of two General 
Conferences, each of which should have supreme ju- 
risiliclion within its own borilers and elect its own 
bishops, the one l)ein;4 in the States south of Mary- 
land and the Ohio and Missouri Riwrs. and the 
other embr<icing those north of that line: that the 
Book Concern should be maintained as common 

150 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

property *the editors and agents to be elected at the 
Northern General Conference, the South casting its 
votes by delegates ; and that the Missionary Society 
should be jointly maintained, in such mannejr as 
might be agreed upon. This plan, however, did not 
meet with any general favor. 

Subsequently, the delegates from the South pre- 
sented a declaration, that, in their judgment, the 
action of the General Conference made it impossi- 
ble for the ministry to be successful in the South 
while under its jurisdiction. This paper was referred 
to a committee of nine, who were also instructed', if 
they could not amicably adjust the difficulties, " to 
devise, if possible, a constitutional plan for a mutual 
and friendly division of the Church." Near the 
close of the session the committee made its report, 
that, " should the Annual Conferences in the slave- 
holding States find it necessary to unite in a distinct 
ecclesiastical connection," a certain rule laid down 
by them should be observed as to boundary ; that 
ministers of every grade might remain in the Church, 
or, without blame, attach themselves to the Church 
South ; and that the Annual Conferences should vote 
upon the question of altering the Restrictive Rule so 
as to allow the division of the property of the Book 
Concern in a J>ro rata proportion to the number of 
traveling preachers in the organizations. A commis- 
sion was appointed to carry this last item into effect, 

From 1832 to 1844. 151 

should the separation take place, and the Annual 
Conferences approve ; and further, that all the prop- 
erty of the Church in meeting-houses, parsonages, 
colleges, etc., within the limits of the Southern organ- 
ization, should be free from any claim, " so far as this 
resolution can be of force." The bishops were also 
directed to lay the proper part of the report before 
the Annual Conferences. This report has been gen- 
erally alluded to in the discussions which followed 
as " the Plan of Separation." It was adopted by a 
vote of one hundred and fifty-three to thirteen. 

While the vote was thus overwhelmingly in favor 
of the report, unfortunately there were different 
views in reference to its meaning. Many of the 
Northern delegates, who voted for it, understood 
that no action should be taken until the Southern 
Annual Conferences found a ncccssit}' laid upon 
them ; others supposed that the whole report was 
dependent upon the action of the Annual Confer- 
ences as to the change of the Restrictive Rule. 
The Southern ministers, however, understood the 
plan to give them full liberty, at once, to take initi- 
atory measure^ for forming a separate organization, 
and that the alteration of the Restrictive Rule had 
no reference to any part of the report except the 
property of the Book Concern. 

The death of Bishop Roberts, and the expansion 
of the work, together with the increasing age of 

152 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Bishops Soule and Hedding, determined the Gen- 
eral Conference to elect two additional bishops, 
and, on counting the ballots, Rev. Leonidas L. Ham- 
line, of Cincinnati, who was editor of the " Ladies* 
Repository," and Rev. Edmund S. Janes, who was 
Secretary of the American Bible Society in New 
York, were elected, and subsequently ordained. 

At this Conference a separate editor was ordered 
for the " Sunday-School Advocate and Sunday-school 
Books," and Rev. Daniel P. Kidder was chosen to 
that office. 

A decided advance was made on the subject of 
Temperance. The Annual Conferences were re- 
quested, by a vote of ninety-nine to thirty-three, to 
alter the^ Restrictive Rule, so as to restore Mr. Wes- 
ley's original rule on this subject, which read: 
" Drunkenness, buying or selling spirituous liquors, 
or drinking them, unless in cases of extreme neces- 
sity." The resolutions which had been adopted in 
1840, on the subject of the testimony of colored 
members in church trials, were rescinded by the de- 
cisive vote of one hundred and fifteen to forty. 
This session of the General Conference was the 
longest, as well as the most exciting, on record, not 
closing until the night of the loth of June. 

Frotn 1844 to i860. 153 

FROM 1844 TO i860. 

'' I ^HE action of the General Conference produced 
-^ great excitement throughout the Church, as 
well as in the public mind. It was rumored that 
some of the leading southern ministers had been in 
correspondence with southern statesmen, and that 
the measures looking^toward separation had been 
under their advice. There was no evidence, how- 
ever, of the correctness of this statement, excepting 
that Dr. Capers was in personal correspondence with 
John C. Calhoun ; }'ct many regarded a prospective 
separation of the Church as shadowing forth, and 
only anticipating a separation of the States. IlLiice 
the mind of the Church throughout the Northern 
States recoiled from the thought of separation, and 
the report, which had been ado[)tctl, was vei)- L^ciicr- 
ally condemned. In the South, there was general 
acciuicscence in the steps which had been taken by 
their ministers. Tluy vainly hoped that the sepa- 
ration of the Church would free them from the influ- 
cjice of antislavcry agitation. Tiiou^h many deeply 
regretted the measure, it was supposed that the 
peace and quiet which would follow would more 

154 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

than corilpensate for the loss of brotherly union. 
The part of the plan which was laid before the An- 
nual Conferences failed to receive the constitutional 
majority, and many supposed that thereby the whole 
plan had been defeated. The South, however, as 
we have already said, taking a different view, pro- 
ceeded to elect delegates to a convention to meet 
on the first of May, 1845, ^^i the city of Louisville. 
This convention consisted of delegates from fourteen 
Annual Conferences, and was presided over by Bish- 
ops Soule and Andrew. It declared the Confer- 
ences represented to be an independent Church, and 
thus organized " The Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South." The doctrine, usages, and discipHne of the 
Church«were retained intact, except that every thing 
against slavery was omitted. They called a Gen- 
eral Conference to meet May i, 1846, which elected 
additional bishops, and which has since met quad- 

The separation did not take place until the sum- 
mer of 1845, but the agitation which had been kept 
up during the year caused a decrease of thirty-one 
thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine members. 
Possibly this may have been, in part, occasioned by 
the reaction from the Millerite excitement, to which 
we have already alluded. We are not able to give 
accurately the number which separated from the 
Church, but we find that in 1847 ^^^ traveling 

From 1844 to i860. 155 

preachers were reduced to three thousand six hun- 
dred and forty-two, and the members to six hundred 
and thirty-one thousand five hundred and fifty-eight, 
showing a decrease in three years of nine hundred 
and seventy-nine traveling preachers, three thousand 
one hundred and seventy-four local preachers, and 
five hundred and thirty-nine thousand seven hun- 
dred and ninety-eight members. The decrease 
which occurred in 1846, and which probably corre- 
sponded most nearly with the actual loss of mem- 
bers by the separation, was four hundred and nine- 
ty-five thousand two hundred and eighty-eight. 
Such a fearful price did the Church pay for its anti- 
slaver}- sentiments, and such a loss it firmly resolved 
to bear rather than yield what it believed to be its 
true loyalty to the great Head of the Church. Other 
Christian bodies had frequently called in question 
the real antislavery sentiment of the Church, and 
ministers, assumin*^ great boldness, had denounced 
it as time-serving and compromising. There is, 
however, no record in the history of our country of 
any Church having made such sacrifices for its stern 
devotion to principle, and no other Church so great- 
ly influenced the public sentiment on this L,M'c:it 
question. In the border States of Delaware, IMarv- 
land, Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri, great ex- 
citement followed, and doubtless many members 
were lost from both Churches. This resulted not 

156 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

merely from the bitter feeling which the controversy 
excited, but also from the action of other Christian 
Churches, which seized the occasion for extensive 

In reviewing the excitement of the years which 
followed, it must be admitted that severe and exag- 
gerated statements were made, both orally and from 
the press, which the calm and sober judgment of all 
parties would now disapprove. Still there was a 
radical difference in sentiment, and the spirit of slav- 
ery being aggressive, would brook neither restraint 
nor opposition. To carry some of the border Soci- 
eties into the southern organization, not only argu- 
ment was employed, but, in some instances, force 
and violence also. In several instances ministers 
were mobbed ; their letters and periodicals opened 
in the post-offices ; the papers of the Church were 
decided to be incendiary, and were not delivered to 
their subscribers ; and those adhering to the old 
Church were fearfully ostracised, their business de- 
stroyed, and, in a few instances, some were even put 
to death. We can now, however, see the guidance of 
an all-wise Providence, which overruled the counsels 
of men in the midst of all these commotions. It 
was the Divine will that slavery should be destroyed. 
With determined purpose, step by step, the South 
moved forward in the separation, first, of the Chris- 
tian Churches, and then in the attempted division 

From 1844 to i860. 157 

of the States, to that fearful war which resulted in 
the errmncipation of the slaves. No instance in his- 
tory more clearly shows how God has made *' the 
wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder of 
wrath" he has restrained. 


In 1847 ^he Missionary Board resolved to open a 
mission in China, and four missionaries were sent 
out during that year. Thus in the midst of excite- 
ment at home, and actual decrease in members, the 
Church took its first bold step of founding its mis- 
sions in the heathen world. Though no speedy re- 
sults followed, yet the eyes of the Church being 
turned to its work abroad, and the great contest 
with sin throughout the world, it gathered strength 
and unity at home. The work among the German 
population continued to grow with increasing rapid- 
ity, and steps were also taken to begin a work 
among immigrants speaking other languages. Rev. 
O. G. Hedstrom, an earnest minister in the New 
York Conference, a converted Swede, commenced a 
mission in a Bethel Ship in New York city. His 
congregation was composed not onl)' of Swedish 
sailors, but also of immigrants from Denmark and 
Norway, and a religious interest was excited whicii 
led to the conversion of a number of active men. 
Some of these, emigrating westward, originated 

158 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Swedish and Norwegian missions, especially in Wis- 
consin and Minnesota. «*> 


The General Conference met for the second time 
in Pittsburgh, on the first of May, 1848. Its pre- 
vious session in that city had occupied much of its 
time in connection with what was then termed the 
''radical controversy." Its second session was still 
more fully occupied with the consideration of the 
relation of the Church to the southern separation 
which had taken place. As the Conference believed 
that the provisions of the plan, adopted by the Gen- 
eral Conference, had been seriously infracted upon 
the border; and as they further believed that the 
previous General Conference had exceeded its con- 
stitutional right in enacting, even provisionally, such 
a plan, resolutions were adopted, almost unanimous- 
ly, declaring that the General Conference had no 
power " either directly or indirectly to effectuate or 
sanction a division of the Church." A resolution 
was also passed declaring the plan null and void. 

Dr. Lovick Pierce, the father of Bishop Pierce, 
of the Church South, an old and highly estimable 
minister, had been sent by the Southern Chuich as 
a delegate to propose fraternal relations. The Con- 
ference was disposed to receive him cordially, and 
to grant him every personal courtesy, but he made 

From 1844 to i860. 159 

his personal reception contingent on the adoption of 
fraternal relations. The General Conference was 
not prepared to adopt full fraternal relations while a 
suit was threatened in the United States Court, and 
while aggressions, as they believed, were being made 
upon the territory of the Church. These they re- 
garded not merely as local outbursts of excitement, 
but as movements sanctioned by the administration 
of the Church South. When the Conference de- 
clined to adopt, at that time, fraternal relations, Dr. 
Pierce refused further to attend the sessions of the 



As the Annual Conferences had refused their con- 
sent to an alteration of the restrictive rule to per- 
mit a division of the church property, the book 
agents were not authorized to make it. Several 
efforts at compromise had also been ineffectual. 
Resolutions were adopted by this Conference ex- 
pressing a wish to settle the matters in controversy 
amicably, and authorizing the book agents, if they 
could legally do so, to submit the matters at issue 
to arbitration. The measure, however, was not ac- 
ceptable to the ministers of the Church South, and 
a suit was commenced in the United States Court, 
which was finally decided in favor of the South. 
The grounds assumed were, that the ministers were 
the owners of the property of the Book Concern ; 

i6o A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

that they weit fully represented in the General Con- 
ference, and that the superannuated ministers con- 
nected with the southern Conferences had a vested 
right in the profits of the establishment. By this 
decision the Church South, held control of the 
printing establishments in Richmond, Charleston, 
ajid Nashville. To them were transferred the debts 
due from persons residing within the limits of their 
Conferences, and, in addition, two hundred and sev- 
enty thousand dollars were paid them in cash, the 
Book Concern also paying the costs of the suit. 
Thus the financial loss was of no inconsiderable 


As the population in Oregon had considerably en- 
larged, and as an increasing emigration was directed 
to that coast as well as to California, the General 
Conference authorized the establishment of an An- 
nual Conference in California and Oregon. This, 
though considered by many at that time as prema- 
ture, proved to have been a wise arrangement, as 
during the next year the discovery of gold in Cali- 
fornia was made. Such was the tide of emigration 
which then flowed to that region, that active meas- 
ures were adopted by the Missionary Society for 
planting the Church on our western coast. 

From 1844 to i860. 161 


Rev. Dr. James Dixon brought to this Confer- 
ence, as a delegate, the fraternal greetings of the 
British Conference. He was most cordially wel- 
comed, both personally and in his official capacity. 
His modest and unassuming deportment, his devout 
and loving spirit, his quick perception, and his clear 
and forcible statements, made him a favorite with 
the Conference, and gained him many friends. Sub- 
sequently he traveled somewhat through the coun- 
try, and on his return, wrote a creditable work on 
American Methodism. 

Bishop Hedding was appointed to visit the Wes- 
leyan Conference to reciprocate its greetings, but 
impaired health prevented him from undertaking 
the journey. 

The decrease which had taken place annually, aft- 
er 1844, was arrested in 1847. The increase at first 
was slow, but from 1848 to 1852 the Minutes show 
an increase of eighty-nine thousand six hundred and 
thirty-four members, and six hundred and seventy- 
two traveling preachers. 


The health of Dr. Pitman, who had been Mission- 
ary Secretar>% became so impaired that he was una- 
ble to discharge the duties of his office, and, on the 

1 62 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

nomination of the bishops, Dr. Durbin was appointed 
in his stead. Under his able administration, as well 
as by his earnest and eloquent appeals, the Mission- 
ary Society made rapid advances, and the organiza- 
tion was brought more perfectly into harmony with 
that of the Church. 


During this period the health of Bishop Hamline 
became so seriously affected that in 1850 he was 
obliged to desist from episcopal labor. Early in 
1852 Bishop Hedding rapidly declined in health, 
and after a severe and protracted illness died at his 
residence in Poughkeepsie, on the 9th of April. He 
had exercised the episcopal office nearly twenty- 
eight years. He was not only an able and talented 
minister, but an executive officer of superior ability. 
Intellectually, he was one of the ablest men ever 
elected to the office. To deep piety and great dig- 
nity of character, he added the gentleness and sim- 
plicity of a child. Wherever he was known he ac- 
quired not only the confidence, but the deep affec- 
tion, both of ministers and members. 


The General Conference of 1852 assembled in the 
city of Boston. It was the first time it had met in 
New England, and its reception presented a remark- 

From 1844 to i860. 163 

able contrast to that of Jesse Lee, more than half a 
century before. Not only were the delegates hand- 
somely entertained, but many courtesies were shown 
them by the officers of the city, among which was 
an excursion through the harbor and down the bay. 
No efforts were spared to render their visit and so- 
journ in the "Athens of America" both pleasant 
and interesting. 

Bishop Hamline, unable to be present, tendered 
to the General Conference the resignation of his of- 
fice. i\Iany were unwilling to accept it, but it was 
understood that he most earnestly desired the Con- 
ference to release him, as he believed that if he re- 
mained connected with the office, its care and anxi- 
ety, though he should desist from active labor, would 
hasten him to an earlier grave. The Conference 
reluctantly accepted it, and thus he retired from his 
position, becoming a superannuated member of the 
Ohio Conference. He was a man of remarkable 
intellectual power, and of fine literary attainments 
and culture. As a writer he had few superiors; and 
in spiritual life, and devotion to the Church, he was 
a bright example to his brethren. 


While the bishops were thus diminishing in num- 
ber, the Annual Conferences had increased. It was 
resolved to elect four additional bishops, and on the 

164 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

first ballot Levi Scott, Matthew Simpson, Edward 
R. Ames, and Osmon C. Baker, were elected. These, 
with the exception of Bishop Baker, are still in act- 
ive service. 


The question of pewed churches was brought to 
the attention of the Conference by an appeal from 
the action of the Ohio Conference in censuring one 
of its ministers. After considerable discussion the 
rule forbidding their erection was rescinded, and 
another was adopted expressing the decided judg- 
ment of the Church in favor of free churches. 

A memorial and petitions were presented on the 
subject of lay delegation, to which we shall hereafter 


At this period general peace and harmony pre- 
vailed in the Church, and increased interest was 
manifest in all its enterprises. Large additions were 
made to the Sunday-school library, and Sunday- 
school papers were more extensively circulated. 
The most notable feature of improvement was the 
commencement of the erection of the better class 
of church buildings. Prior to this time but little 
attention had been paid to tasteful architecture. 
Many of the early churches had been unwisely lo- 
cated in the suburbs of towns and villages, and the 
edifices were exceedingly plain. In Boston the 

From 1844 to i860. 165 

Hanover-street Church had been purchased from the 
Unitarians, and was the most tasteful building at 
that time owned by the Church. Charles-street, in 
Baltimore, and Trinity, in Philadelphia, were the 
most neat and beautiful churches which had been 
erected by our congregations up to that date. 
Christ Church, in Pittsburgh, was the first church 
erected of Gothic architecture, and fitted up in 
modern style. From that time forward, in all the 
principal cities, movements were made for the erec- 
tion of handsome and commodious churches. Si- 
multaneously with their erection, the Church began 
to give to its ministers a better support, and the 
general financial interests were more carefully con- 

In some sections there was a growing interest in 
reference to a change in the General Rule on the 
subject of Slavery in order to make it more strin- 
gent, and several resolutions were adopted by An- 
nual Conferences looking to that end. 

The membership increased to seven hundred and 
twenty-eight thousand seven hundred, including 
probationers, and the preachers to four thousand 
five hundred and thirteen traveling, and five thou- 
sand seven hundred and sixty-seven local. The 
distinction between colored and white members was 
omitted during this period. 

i66 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

general conference of 1856. 

The General Conference of 1856 assembled in the 
city of Indianapolis, a point farther west than any 
previous session had been held, and indicating the 
rapid and continuous spread of the Church over the 
western sections of the country. 

BRITISH delegates. 

Drs. Hannah and Jobson attended this session as 
delegates from the British Wesleyan Conference. 
Their ministrations were highly valued, and both 
by their pubHc addresses and their private inter- 
course they won the affections of their brethren, 
and their mission tended to strengthen still further 
the bonds of union. To reciprocate their mission. 
Bishop Simpson and Dr. M'Clintock were selected 
to visit the British and Irish Conferences in 1857. 
Dr. Robinson Scott was also a visitor from the Irish 
Conference, asking assistance for a literary institu- 
tion which had been established in Belfast. The 
enterprise was recommended to the confidence and 
liberality of the Church. 


The subject of slavery came very prominently 
before the Conference, and the discussion was ear- 
nest and animated. It was evident that those who 

From 1844 to i860. 167 

were in favor of making the General Rule more 
stringent were in the majority, yet they were solicit- 
ous not to embarrass unnecessarily their brethren 
on the border, who were already severely pressed. 
At the same time they felt it their duty to make a 
strong and decided utterance. 

With the emigration westward the Church had 
kept constant pace, and it became necessary to estab- 
lish new Conferences in Kansas and Nebraska. A 
decided improvement was made in the collection 
and publication of statistics. Hitherto they had 
been confined chiefly to the numbers of members 
and ministers. The tables were enlarged so as to 
embrace the number of deaths, the baptisms both 
of infants and adults, the number and value of 
churches and parsonages, and the contributions 
made for missions, Sunday-schools, and other benev- 
olent departments. Since that period a more per- 
fect view can be obtained of the progress of the 



In 1857 Bishop Simpson and Dr. M'Clintock visited 
the English and Irish Conferences, under the direc- 
tion of the General Conference. Bishop Simpson, 
also, visited the Continent, and held the Mission 
Conferenceof Germany and Switzerland. This work 
had been commenced a few years previously under 
the superintendency of Dr. Jacoby. He had shown 

1 68 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

unusual zeal and foresight in all his movements. 
He had established, at Bremen, a printing-press, pub- 
lishing a weekly paper, and had issued several tracts 
and books in the German language. Though sur- 
rounded with difficulties, and meeting great opposi- 
tion, he had succeeded in establishing congregations 
in several centers. Prior to this time, also, missions 
had been commenced in Denmark and Norway, 
which were also visited, and a number of native 
ministers were ordained to extend the work. The 
episcopal visit was extended down the Danube, along 
the borders of Bulgaria, and the missionaries, just 
appointed to that country, were met in Constan- 
tinople, and consultation was held in reference to 

their wortc. 


The mission to India had also been projected, 
and in 1856 Dr. Butler sailed with his family for that 
distant land. The following year the terrible Sepoy 
rebellion occurred, from which he and his family 
and his associates narrowly escaped with their lives. 
Under his superintendence the mission, however, 
was successfully established, and has since enlarged 
into an Annual Conference, where the work is ex- 
ceedingly prosperous. 

From 1844 to i860. 169 


The spirit of education continued to advance in its 
various departments. The number of students in at- 
tendance at the seminaries increased. The endow- 
ment of colleges began to be augmented, and in several 
institutions a partial theological course was arranged. 
A theological school had been established several 
years before at Concord, New Hampshire, which, 
though small, had done much service in the edu- 
cation of young ministers. Bishop Baker had 
been for several years a professor, and subsequent- 
ly to his election as bishop he was its nominal 

In 1856 Mrs. Garrett, of Chicago, offered a large 
property for the establishment of a Biblical School 
at Evanston, Illinois. A charter was obtained for 
that purpose, which was laid before the General 
Conference of 1856 and received its approval. This 
was the first indorsement of a strictly theological 
institution by the General Conference. As the 
number of professors in the academical institutions 
increased, and as some of these sought connection 
with the Conference without any purpose of engag- 
ing in the itinerant ministry, the bishops thoui^ht 
proper to call attention to that fact, and suggested 
that those who had no purpose to itinerate ought 
not to be admitted as members in the Conferences. 

170 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


The General Conference of 1856 adopted a special 
measure for the election of missionary bishops, but 
it required the concurrence of the Annual Confer- 
ences to change the Restrictive Rule. Having been 
referred to the several Conferences, it received the 
requisite three-fourths majority. Accordingly the 
Rev. Francis Burns, a member of the Liberia Con- 
ference, who had been elected by that body ac- 
cording to the direction of the General Confer- 
ence, was ordained bishop, October 14, 1858. He 
was the first colored minister elected to that of- 
fice in the Church, but he lived only a few years 
to perform its functions. 


The antislavery excitement continued to increase 
from 1856 to i860. The discussion in the Church 
was no doubt in part stimulated by the political 
events which followed each other in rapid succossion. 
A warm controversy arose in reference to slavery in 
Kansas. It had been excluded by what had been 
termed the "Missouri Compromise," but when Kan- 
sas was opened for immigration, and especially when 
it asked for admission as a State, the South asserted 
their right to carry slaves into that territory. The 
contest was carried into political movements, and 

From 1844 to i860. 171 

the people became thoroughly aroused. Finally, the 
contest culminated in the triumph of the antislavery 
party, in the election of Abraham Lincoln as Presi- 
dent of the United States. During this period of 
excitement, many of the Annual Conferences passed 
strong resolutions demanding an alteration in the 
Discipline, so as to exclude all slave-holders from 
Church communion. The feeling throughout the 
North became intense, and almost unanimous ; but 
in the border States, which had adhered at the time 
of the separation, there was much excitement. In 
1845 the Methodists in Delaware, Maryland, and in 
portions of Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri, re- 
mained in connection with the old Church. During 
this excitement, the membership in those States 
feared they could not maintain their position in the 
face of stronger resolutions, or of an altered discip- 
linary action. 

Notwithstanding this excitement, however, the 
Church continued to increase. Its numbers swelled, 
during the four years, from seven hundred and nine- 
ty-nine thousand four hundred and thirty-one, to 
nine hundred and seventy-four thousand three hun- 
dred and forty-five, being an increase of nearly one 
hundred and seventy-five thousand, of which the 
increase for the year 1858 was much the largest 

172 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

death of bishop waugh. 

On the ninth of February, 1858, Bishop Waugh 
closed his earthly labors. He had exercised the 
office of bishop from 1836, and had traveled exten- 
sively throughout the Church. He was remarkable 
for his personal gentlemanly bearing, his Christian 
dignity, and for his cautious and skillful administra- 
tion. Before his election as bishop he had served 
as book agent in New York for eight years. For 
several years before his death he was in delicate 
health, but he had continued to discharge his epis- 
copal functions with great regularity until a short 
period before his departure. His illness was short, 
and his dfeath happy. 


The General Conference of i860 met in the city 
of Buffalo. The session was a pleasant and harmo- 
nious one, though several exciting questions came 
before it for consideration. The Annual Confer- 
ences, generally, had passed resolutions touching the 
alteration of the General Rule on Slavery. Some 
of them had requested, that if that could not be 
effected, there should be an alteration in the chap- 
ter on that subject, which should declare more dis- 
tinctly the doctrine of the Church. It was found 
that the constitutional majority had not agreed 

From 1844 to i860. 173 

to the change of the General Rule, but the chap- 
ter was altered by a decided majority, so as to 
give this distinct expression. Fears were enter- 
tained for the result, but the church difficulties 
were soon merged into the far greater ones which 
arose in the country. 


Prior to the meeting of the General Conference, 
unpleasant contests had arisen in several Churches 
in western New York in reference to the organiza- 
tion of societies within the Church, which professed 
to desire its purification, but which were conducted 
in opposition to its discipline and economy. The 
members of these associations were usually distin- 
guished by the term " Nazarites." Several minis- 
ters had been tried for matters growing out of these 
associations, some of them for insubordination, and 
others for falsehood, and had been expelled by the 
Genesee Conference, and had given notice of their 
appeal to the General Conference. Notwithstand- 
ing their expulsion, they had continued to preach, 
and to organize societies in defiance of church or- 
der, thereby seriously affecting the interests of the 
Church in several of its stations and circuits. Their 
appeal was presented to the Conference, and was 
referred to the committee of trial. They were rep- 
resented, and their cause was advocated by several 

174 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

able minfsters, but their appeal was rejected because 
they had refused to submit themselves to church 
discipline. The disaffected ministers and members 
organized themselves into what is termed the " Free 
Methodist Church." 


The subject of lay delegation came prominently 
before this Conference. In 1852, a convention was 
held in the city of Philadelphia to secure the ad- 
mission of lay delegates into the General and An- 
nual Conferences. The convention was composed 
of a number of the most prominent and active mem- 
bers, who professed entire loyalty to the discipline 
and ecAiomy of the Church, and who declared their 
anxiety to add to its influence and power. Their 
memorial was received at the session held in Bos- 
ton, and referred to a large committee, which held 
open sessions, in the afternoon, in one of the 
churches, and not only considered the memorial, 
but listened to addresses and representations of 
brethren who appeared before them, both in favor 
of, and in opposition to, the measure proposed. 
After full consideration, the committee agreed that 
any action at that time was inexpedient, as there 
was no evidence that it was generally desired by the 
members or ministers of our Church. The discus- 
sion of this subject, however, continued to a greater 

From 1844 to i860. 175 

or less extent until the commencement of the ses- 
sion of i860. A committee, appointed on this sub- 
ject, reported in favor of lay delegation when the 
members and ministers of the Church should desire 
it, and they proposed to submit the question to a 
vote of the members and ministers to be taken in 
1862. This report, after discussion and amendment, 
was adopted. 

After the rise of the Conference a periodical was 
started in New York, called the " Methodist," de- 
signed as an advocate of lay representation, and as 
an organ through which those favoring the measure 
could express their views. The following year, 
however, the fearful Rebellion occurred in the 
South, and the most intense excitement prevailed 
throughout the land. National questions, for a 
time, took precedence of all others. The vote 
when taken was exceedingly small, but was decided 
in the negative, twenty-eight thousand eight hun- 
dred and eighty-four members voting for, and forty- 
seven thousand eight hundred and fifty-five against. 
The proportion of ministers opposed to the meas- 
ure was somewhat larger. 

At this session the bishops were authorized to 
constitute the missions in India into a Mission An- 
nual Conference, as soon as, in their judgment, it 
would promote the interests of the work. 

I/O A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


FROM i860 TO 1875. 

SCARCELY had the members of the General 
Conference returned to their homes, when the 
political contests to which we have alluded became 
exciting and intense. Notwithstanding secessions 
were threatened on the border, and in some cases 
actually occurred, church interests were generally- 
prosperous. As the business of the country re- 
vived after the financial depression of 1857, the 
contributions for church building and for colleges, 
and for other important enterprises, increased in 
amount. Revivals of religion indicated more rapid 
progress, and the friends of the Church were hope- 
ful for its future. 


In a few months all was changed. The slave- 
holders of the South precipitated their States into 
secession. The hopes of a peaceful settlement, how- 
ever, were not fully abandoned until the fatal shot 
was fired at Fort Sumter. This put an end to all 
efforts at compromise, and aroused the entire nation. 

Inspired by patriotism, devoted to the Govern- 

From i860 to 1875. 177 

ment of their country, and opposed to slavery, which 

had already rent and torn their Church, it is not 

surprising that a very large number of the young 

men of the Methodist congregations volunteered for 

the army. Through these dreadful years of bloody 

contests large numbers of the members and friends 

of the Church fell while supporting the banner of 

their country. 

Throughout the entire conflict the support of the 

membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church was 

given to the Government. To them the American 

flag was a symbol both of union and freedom. They 

mourned at its reverses and rejoiced at its triumphs. 

They gave many of their ablest men to the field ; 

and the records show, that of soldiers' orphans, far 

the largest proportion is of Methodist parentage. 

So greatly was this the case, that many feared the 

Church would be largely depleted both of men and 



This era was remarkable for one of the most won- 
derful facts of history. The Proclamation of Eman- 
cipation was issued by President Lincoln in Sep- 
tember, 1862, conditioned on the continuance of 
the rebellion; and on the first of January, 1863, 
that proclamation was made final. Thus the man- 
acles were struck from nearly four millions of hu- 
man beings ; and from that time forth they were to 


178 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

some extent employed in the army. It was the 
general conviction that God had permitted this 
great struggle to occur to end the system of slavery. 
Statesmen had anxiously sought, but were unable 
to find, a proper mode of relief. Instead of gradual 
emancipation advancing, as had been hoped, slavery 
had assumed a more aggressive attitude, and had 
shown a bolder determination to extend its area. 
So far as human vision can perceive, in no other 
way could this evil have been so speedily and so 
successfully terminated. It was permitted to be- 
come the agent of its own destruction. The re- 
bellion was commenced by the South. A leading 
orator had boasted that he would call the roll of 
his slaves on Bunker Hill. The South fired the first 
gun, made the first attacks, and precipitated the na- 
tion into the fearful struggle which resulted, under 
the blessing of God, in the abolition of slavery, and 
in the strengthening and consolidation of the gen- 
eral union. In this issue the Church most heartily 

In 1864 a committee was appointed to express to 
President Lincoln the sympathy of the General Con- 
ference as the representative body of the Church, 
and to assure him of their determination to support 
the Government of the country both by their prayers 
and by their efforts. 

Mr. Lincoln responded to this address, and said : 

From i860 /<7 1875. 179 

" Nobly sustained as the Government has been by 
all the Churches, I would utter nothing which might 
in the least appear invidious against any. Yet, with- 
out this, it may fairly be said that the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, not less devoted than the best, is, 
by its great numbers, the most important of all. It 
is no fault in others that the Methodist Episcopal 
Church sends more soldiers to the field, more nurses 
to the hospitals, and more prayers to Heaven, than 
any. God bless the Methodist Church ! God bless 
all the Churches ! Blessed be God, who, in this our 
great trial, giveth us the Churches.' 


A portion of the northern slave States having 
been occupied by the army, the union men in those 
sections earnestly requested the Church to send 
them ministers. Their request having been favora- 
bly answered, the borders of the Church were largely 
extended. The General Conference of 1864, which 
met in Philadelphia, organized a number of new 
Annual Conferences, and gave the bishops authority 
to form such other organizations as might be neces- 
saiy for the interests of the work. 

At this session three additional bishops were 
elected, namely : Davis W. Clark, of the New \'ork 
Conference, who had resided at Cincinnati as editor 
o; ihc "Ladies' Repository;" Edward Thomson, 

i8o A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

of the North Ohio Conference, who had served the 
last four years as editor of the " Christian Advo- 
cate and Journal ; " and Calvin Kingsley, of the Erie 
Conference, who had been editor of the " Western 
Christian Advocate." 


The membership from i860 to 1864 shows a de- 
crease of over sixty-eight thousand. Notwithstand- 
ing this loss, which occurred chiefly on the border, 
which had been overrun by the secession army, 
and from deaths in the service, the financial inter- 
ests of the Church were constantly improving. The 
foreign missionary work enlarged from year to year, 
and tlfe contributions for missions increased in a 
rapid ratio, being over sixty per cent, in the four 

Notwithstanding the division of the capital of the 
Book Concern with the South, it had been able not 
only to carry foivvard its plans, but greatly to enlarge 
its operations. In the midst of the struggles of the 
war, the Annual Conferences, with great unanimity, 
recommended. the alteration of the restrictive rule 
so as absolutely to forbid slave-holding in the Church ; 
and the Conference of 1864, in accordance with the 
recommendations, made the requisite change. 

From i860 to 1875. 181 


The term of ministerial appointment, which from 
1804 had been limited to two years, was now ex- 
tended to three. At the same time, however, the 
bishops were forbidden to continue either supernu- 
merary or superannuated ministers longer than that 
term, or to permit, through the presiding elders, the 
employment of local preachers for any greater pe- 
riod. Prior to that time, supernumerary and local 
preachers had, in a few instances, been employed 
for a longer term. 


A board of trustees was appointed, and subse- 
quently chartered by the Legislature of Ohio, to 
hold, for the benefit of the Church, donations and 
bequests made to the Church and not otherwise 
specially designated or directed. 


At this Conference was originated the Churck 
Extension Society, with its center in Philadclpliia 
Its first secretary was Rev. S. Y. Monroe, of New 
Jersey, who in a short time died in the midst of his 
work. Since that period, under tlic able adminis- 
tration of Rev. Dr. Kynett, of Upper Iowa Confc»'- 
cnce, it has accomplished great good in aiding ft:c- 

1 82 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ble Societies, especially in the South and West. It 
has also been instrumental in saving for the Church 
a number of the edifices, which had become greatly 
embarrassed, and which would in all probability 
have been lost but for the exertions of the Society, 
Its permanent fund, for which Rev. C. C. M'Cabe 
has been earnestly laboring, promises to become of 
immense service. 


The spring of 1865 witnessed the end of the Re- 
bellion and the triumph of the Union arms. When 
Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated the second time, he 
uttered words which will live as long as the English 
language when he said : " Fondly do we hope, fer- 
vently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war 
may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it 
continue until all the wealth piled by the bondmen's 
two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall 
be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with 
the lash shall be paid by another, drawn with the 
sjvord, as was said three thousand years ago, so 
still it must be said, ' the judgments of the Lord 
are true and righteous altogether.' With malice 
towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in 
the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us 
strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the 
wounds, and care for him who shall have borne the 

From i860 to 1875. 183 

battle, and for his widow and his orphans, and 
achieve a just and a lasting peace among ourselves 
and with all nations." On the 9th of April, 1865, 
General Lee surrendered. In one short week, how- 
ever, the joy of the nation was turned into sorrow 
by the assassination of President Lincoln, and the 
attempted assassination of Secretary Seward. It 
was too late, however, for the South to profit by 
this terrible catastrophe, and it only intensified the 
hatred of the people against slavery, and their de- 
termination to maintain the union of the country. 


As the hrst American Methodist Society was or- 
ganized in 1766, the Centenary of Methodism oc- 
curred in 1866. The General Conference of 1864 
arranged preliminary measures for thanksgiving serv- 
ices, and for pecuniary offerings in behalf of our in- 
stitutions. A committee was appointed, consisting 
of the bishops, with twelve preachers and twelve 
laymen, to prepare proper plans. It was suggested 
that two millions of dollars should be raised, chiefly 
for educational and connectional purposes ; but the 
different Conferences were authorized to select for 
themselves more special objects. The first Sabbath 
of the )'cur was devoted to religious services, and 
public meetings were held at different times. The 
chief celebration occurred in the month of October. 

1 84 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

The Churches, however, preferred local enterprises, 
such as the erection of edifices of worship and the 
removal of debts on church property, and the estab- 
lishment or endowment of local seminaries or col- 
leges. When the offerings were made, the Church 
was astonished to find that, instead of :wo millions, 
they amounted to more than eight millions of dol- 
lars. Among these offerings were the donations for 
the Drew Theological Seminary at Madison, New 
Jersey, and for the erection of a large building for 
the Garrett Biblical Institute at Evanston, Illinois, 
as a memorial to Barbara Heck, who is frequently 
styled the mother of American Methodism. The 
Connectional Educational Fund, which the commit- 
tee recommended, received only about twelve thou- 
sand dollars, and the Children's Fund, fifty-nine 
thousand dollars. To care for this fund, a board of 
education was appointed and properly organized. 
The amount has now increased to over one hun- 
dred thousand dollars, yielding annually some seven 
thousand dollars. The proceeds are devoted to the 
education of young men for the ministry and for the 
missionary work. No grander scheme could have 
been inaugurated for the future welfare of the 


Rev. W. L. Thornton having been received with 
great pleasure by the General Conference of 1864, as 

From i860 to 1875. 185 

a delegate from the British Conference, Bishop Janes 
was requested to visit Great Britain and Ireland, 
and to convey to those Conferences the fraternal 
salutations of their brethren in America. This duty- 
he performed with great ability, and was most cor- 
dially welcomed by the British and Irish Confer- 
ences. He also held the Conference in Germany, 
and visited the missions in Switzerland and in Scan- 


The close of the Rebellion and the freedom of the 
slaves, opened for the Church a wide field in the 
South. The union men in East Tennessee, in 
Northern Georgia, and in other places, anxiously 
desired the services of the old Church, while the 
colored people looked to it for sympathy and aid. 
They were unwilling to trust themselves to the 
Church South, which was controlled by their for- 
mer masters, and they doubted whether that Church 
desired their presence. They joined in must ear- 
nest requests that preachers should be sent to them. 
For the accomplishment of this work Conferences 
were organized, at first in the region contiguous to 
the border, but ultimately embracing the entire ter- 
ritory of the States formerly in rebellion. The 
Church enteied witli great vigor into its new field, 
and the results show a heavy increase. The num- 
ber of members swelled from nine hundred and 

1 86 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

twenty-eiglit thousand three hundred and twenty, 
in 1864, tb one milHon two hundred and fifty-five 
thousand one hundred and fifteen in 1868, being an 
increase of nearly three hundred and twenty-seven 
thousand. This was the largest, for the period, which 
the Church had ever known, and enlarging the num- 
bers to an amount greater than before the separation 
of the South in 1845. 

freedmen's aid society. 

The condition of the South enlisted the sympathy 
of many northern people for the education of the 
freedmen. Several public societies were organized 
for this great end. It, however, soon became mani- 
fest that^the different Churches would be obliged to 
act each in its own way, and in the autumn of 1866 
the " Freedmen's Aid Society of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church" was organized in Cincinnati. Its 
object was to select and send teachers to the South, 
and to exercise a watchful supervision over them and 
their work. At the General Conference of 1872 this 
society was regularly indorsed, and it has ever since 
been successfully working under the vigorous man- 
agement of the Rev. Dr. Rust, its untiring secretary. 


The General Conference of 1868 assembled in the 
city of Chicago, being the farthest point West at 

From i860 to 1875. 187 

which it had ever met. Delegates came to this 
Conference from the newly-formed Mission Confer- 
ences, who had been elected contingently, and ap- 
plied for admission. An able and earnest debate 
occurred as to their reception, which was ultimately 
decided in the affirmative. 


The subject of lay delegation was again brought 
before the Church. The Conference of 1864 had re- 
affirmed its willingness to admit lay delegates when- 
ever the Church desired it. At this session a plan 
for their introduction was adopted by the General 
Conference, to go into operation, contingently, upon 
the vote of a majority of the membership, which 
was to be taken in 1869, and upon a three fourths 
majority of the ministers, the vote to be taken in 
1870. The discussion in the General Conference 
was able and dignified, although no small amount 
of feeling was elicited. The discussions which fol- 
lowed the session were generally conducted in a kind 
and fraternal spirit, though, in a few instances, un- 
guarded utterances were made, and motives were 
improperly impugned. Seldom, if pver, has so im- 
portant a measure been so thoroughly and so kindly 
discussed. The result was, that out of a vote of over 
two hundred thousand of the laity, more than two 
to one desired a change. The measure also received 

1 88 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

the sanctron of the Annual Conferences by the req- 
uisite three-fourths majority, and delegates were 
chosen to meet at the ensuing session of the Gen- 
eral Conference. 


The quadrennium between 1868 and 1872 was 
marked by an unprecedented fatality among the 
bishops of the Church. The work having been 
greatly enlarged, and the interests in many direc- 
tions having increased, the supervision involved a 
great responsibility. The majority of the bishops 
in 1868 desired an increase in the episcopal board, 
but the opponents of lay delegation earnestly op- 
posed slich increase, alleging that the majority of 
that Conference was accidentally in favor of lay del- 
egation, and that no bishop ought to be chosen until 
the sense of the Church on that measure had been 
decided. The health of Bishop Baker had been se- 
riously impaired for several years. He had suffered 
during his visit to the Colorado Conference, in 1866, 
from a slight paralytic affection, and from that time 
he had been unable to perform much episcopal 
work. In the .spring of 1870 Bishop Thomson, 
after attending the West Virginia Conference, was 
seized with pneumonia. After a very short illness 
he died in the city of Wheeling, on the 22d of 
March, 1870, before any of his family could reach 

From i860 to 1875. 189 

him. His death produced a profound impression, 
and threw a shadow.over the Church. As a preach- 
er and a writer, a man of clear intellect, enlarged 
culture, and wise judgment, he had few equals. He 
had especially distinguished himself as principal of 
the Nonvalk Seminary, as editor of the " Ladies' 
Repository," and as president of the Ohio Wesleyan 
University, which, under his management, had 
grown rapidly, both in strength and in popularity. 
In i860 he had been elected editor of the "Chris- 
tian Advocate," which position he reluctantly ac- 
cepted, but the duties of which he performed with 
ability and fidelity, and in 1864 he was elected 

Scarcely had the intelligence of Bishop Thom- 
son's death reached the extremities of the Church, 
when a telegram from Beirut, in Syria, brought the 
sad news that Bishop Kingsley was no more. The 
bishops of the Church having been requested to 
visit the different missions. Bishop Kingsley had 
undertaken, for this purpose, a journey around the 
world. In the previous fall he had crossed the Pa- 
cific Ocean, and visited the missions in China ; from 
thence he passed to India, holding the Annual Con- 
ference in that country, and from thence continued 
on the route homeward through Palestine. 

He had satisfied a long-cherished desire to look 
upon the holy city of Jerusalem, and to visit the 

190 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


scenes made sacred by the footsteps of the blessed 
Saviour. Having completed his tour through that 
country, he had reached Beirut, and had taken his 
passage to Constantinople, with Dr. Bannister, of 
the Garrett Biblical Institute, who had met him 
in Syria. He went upon the housetop of his hotel 
to take a parting view of the mountains of Lebanon, 
and returning to his room he was seized with a pain 
in the region of the heart. In a few moments he 
expired in the arms of his associate. His tomb oc- 
cupies a prominent position in a cemetery at Beirut, 
overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. He was a man 
of fine culture, had been for many years professor in 
Alleghany College, had distinguished himself for 
theolo^cal acuteness, and for active efforts in behalf 
of the finances of the institution. He was editor of 
the "Western Christian Advocate" for four years 
prior to his election as bishop, and had been one 
of the early and decided leaders in the antislavery 
contest, and during all the discussions and contests 
he had maintained unquestioned loyalty to the 
Church. As a bishop he had been prudent, care- 
ful, and diHgent ; he sympathized fully with the 
ministers in all their afflictions and privations, and 
exerted himself as well for their accommodation, as 
for the proper supply of the Churches. 

The unaccomplished part of his work in visiting 
the German Conference and European missions de- 

From i860 to 1875. 191 

volved upon Bishop Simpson, who, at the request 
of his colleagues, in connection with Dr. R. S. Fos- 
ter, now bishop, carried the fraternal greetings of the 
Church to the British Conference. 

In the autumn of the same year Bishop Clark's 
health became seriously impaired, and he suffered 
severely during the winter. He was unwilling, how- 
ever, to give up his episcopal work, and attempted 
to attend his spring Conferences. It was found nec- 
essary for one of his colleagues to accompany him, 
and after having attended the Pittsburgh and New 
England Conferences, he was exceedingly anxious 
to reach the New York Conference, of which he had 
been formerly an active member, and in which he 
had been a great favorite. He succeeded in reach- 
ing the seat of the Conference at Peekskill, and 
opened its session ; he led in the administration of 
the Lord's Supper, and presided during a part of the 
morning session. He then retired to his room to 
cease all active work. He suffered so severely and 
sunk so rapidly that at one time during the session 
he was supposed to be dying ; but his strength aft- 
envard rallying, his friends succeeded in removing 
him to his home in Cincinnati, where he died May 
3, 1 87 1. He was a clear thinker, a chaste writer, an 
able preacher, and a firm administrator, and the 
Church sustained no ordinary loss in his removal. 

Bishop Baker, who had been unable to attend to 

192 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

episcopaf duties for several years, gradually became 
weaker until Decerxiber 20, 1871, when he cahnly 
passed away. He was a man of deep piety, unaf- 
fected modesty, a clear preacher, a good presiding 
officer, and was greatly beloved by those who were 
intimately acquainted with him. Prior to his elec- 
tion as bishop he had been president of the New- 
bury Seminary, and professor in the Biblical Insti- 
tute in its earlier years. 


Thus in one year and nine months four of the 
bishops passed away. Bishop Morris being in fee- 
ble health, and unable to attend to active episcopal 
labor, ttie entire supervision of the Church devolved 
upon Bishops Janes, Scott, Simpson, and Ames. 
Such was the stress, both of anxiety and labor, that 
their health was considerably affected, both during 
the summer of 1871 and the winter and spring pre- 
ceding the General Conference. Bishop Scott, while 
attending the North Indiana Conference, was pros- 
trated with sickness a few weeks before the General 
Conference ; and Bishop Janes, having opened the 
sessions of that body and presided the first morning, 
was confined to his bed by a severe illness a great 
part of the session. 

Fro7n i860 to 1875. 193 


In view of these deaths and the impaired health 
of the remaining bishops, the General Conference 
of 1872, which met in Brooklyn, N. Y., elected 
eight additional bishops, to wit : Thomas Bowman, 
William L. Harris, Randolph S. Foster, Isaac W. 
Wiley, Stephen M. Merrill, Edward G. Andrews, 
Gilbert Haven, and Jesse T. Peck. All of these 
had filled prominent positions, and were well known 
to thr Church generally. 

Thi y were ordained on the 24th of May. The 
occasion was one of unusual solemnity and interest, 
as never before had so large a number been ordained 
at one tvaie. In electing this increased number of 
bishops, the General Conference judged it best to 
name the proper places of residence for the bishops, 
that they might the better supervise the entire work. 
But they left each one to select from them his place 
in order of seniority of office. 


At tliis General Conference the lay delegates who 
had been chosen appeared, and, by vote of the Con- 
ference, were admitted to their seats therein. The 
General Conference moved forward in the discharge 
of its ordinary duties with great peace and quiet- 
ness ; and all fears as to the introduction of laymen 

194 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

unfavorably affecting the interests of the Church, 
which had been honestly entertained by many, were 
seen to have been groundless. 


The only matter which produced some excite- 
ment in the Conference was the condition of the 
Book Concern. A difference of views in reference 
to its administration had occurred between the 
agents, and also between different members of the 
book committee. Their reports, when presented 
to the Conference, were referred to a large and judi- 
cious committee, and the accounts and books were 
carefully examined by a subcommittee of men of 
known financial skill and integrity. Their report 
was indorsed, first by the committee, and then, 
without discussion, by the General Conference. 

Thus a controversy which had been painful in 
its origin and unpleasant in its progress was happily 
settled through the intervention, chiefly, of the lay 
delegates in the General Conference. However 
skillful and accurate ministers might have been, 
neither the great body of. the Church nor of the 
public generally would have felt the same confi- 
dence in their decisions respecting matters purely 

The discussion and agitation, so far from injuring 
the interests of the Book Concern, only inspired 

From i860 to 1875. 195 

greater confidence in the public mind as to its gen- 
eral honesty of management, as well as to its safety. 
It was the means also of introducing precautionary 
measures and improved methods which, it is to be 
hoped, will add both to its security and its growth. 


The additions of thi Church from 1868 to 1872 
were large and encouraging, the membership hav- 
ing increased from 1,146,081 reported in 1867, to 
1,421,323 reported at the close of 1871 ; being an 
increase of 275,242: and also showing an increase 
of 1,695 traveling preachers. 


The introduction of the lay element turned atten- 
tion to several questions which were of deep inter- 
est to the Church. A number of distinguished 
jurists being among the delegates, a desire was ex- 
pressed that a more simple and general code of 
ecclesiastical jurisprudence might be adopted. Not 
unfrequently questions had arisen which perplexed 
the administrator of discipline, and in some points, 
it was thought, the rights of the membership were 
not so fully guarded as they might be. Accordingly 
the Conference requested the bishops to appoint a 
commission, to consist of three ministers and three 
laymen, "to prepare gratuitously a succinct code of 

196 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ecclesiastical jurisprudence and procedure," and who 
should make their report to the next General Con- 


Questions touching the titles to church property, 
as affected by defects in deeds, and in charters 
granted in several States, were also brought to the 
attention of the General Conference. The bishops 
were requested to select some gentleman of high 
legal attainments, in each State and Territory, to 
prepare a form of deeds and charters in accordance 
with the laws of each State, so as properly to secure 
church interests ; and the Conference directed that 
such forms, when properly prepared, should be pub- 
lished by the " Church Extension Society." 


An important change was also made in the consti- 
tutions of the Missionary Society, of the Church 
Extension Society, and of other benevolent so- 
cieties, so as to bring them more perfectly into 
harmony with church order. Formerly they were 
simply voluntary associations, and the members of 
these societies, assembling on certain days, elected 
their different boards of directors. But as they ex- 
tended over the entire area of the Church, it be- 
came impossible for the membership generally to 
participate in the elections ; consequently the entire 

From i860 /^ 1875. 197 

management passed into the hands of a single local- 
ity, the general Church having no voice whatever. 
The General Conference directed that such change 
should be procured in the charters as should con- 
stitute church boards, the members of which should 
be appointed by the General Conference. In antici- 
pation of such a change, members were selected for 
the boards of each of the benevolent societies. 


From the year 1820, delegates had exchanged 
fraternal greetings between the General Conference 
and the British Wesleyan Conference. More re- 
cently delegates from the Irish Conference were re- 
ceived, and also from the Canada Wesleyan and the 
Canada Methodist Episcopal Church, and from a 
few other branches of Methodism. At this session, 
however, the feeling of fraternity was represented 
more strongly than ever before. Rev. Luke Wise- 
man and Rev. William Morlcy Punshon were present 
as delegates from the British Conference. They were 
most cordially welcomed, and delivered interesting 
and eloquent addresses. The Conference directed 
that the bishop who should visit the Conferences 
in Germany and Switzerland, and Dr. J. A. M'Cau- 
ley, should visit the English and Irish Conferences, 
and reciprocate their greetings. Fraternal delegates 
were also received from the Irish Conference, the 

igS A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

" Wesleyan" and " Methodist Episcopal Churches ' 
of Canada," the "Methodist Church," the " Meth- 
odist Protestant Church," the "General Assembly 
of the Presbyterian Church," the "American Con- 
gregational Council," the " Baptist Church," the 
" Free Church " of Italy, and the " Evangelical As- 
sociation." A telegram of greeting was received 
from the " African Methodist Episcopal " General 
Conference, then in session, and a letter from three 
of the bishops of the " African Zion Church." The 
addresses from the representatives of these bodies 
were listened to with deep interest, and served to 
exhibit to the world more fully the substantial unity 
of the great Protestant denominations. In return 
delegate were appointed to convey the fraternal 
salutations of the Conference to the various Churches 
which had been represented. 


Of the persons elected to office by the General 
Conference of 1872, three departed this life before 
the close of the quadrennium. Dr. Thomas M. Ed- 
dy, having served the Missionary Society with great 
zeal and fidelity, was prostrated with disease, and 
after a short and severe illness, died October 7, 1874. 
Few men of his years had accomplished so much for 
the Church, or had brighter prospects before them. 
He was widely known and beloved, and his death 

From i860 to 1875. 199 


was greatly lamented. Dr. Cobleigh died early in 
1874, after a short illness; and Dr. Lore was also 
suddenly stricken down in the summer of 1875. 
Both of these men were in the prime of life, and 
were actively serving the interests of the Church. 


In 1 87 1, Rev. Dr. L. M. Vernon was appointed 
missionary to Italy, but the mission proper was 
not opened until during the present quadrennium. 
For many years, some of the leading minds of the 
Church, among whom was the lamented Dr. Elliott, 
anxiously looked forward to the establishment of a 
mission in Italy, and, if possible, in Rome. The 
head-quarters of the mission were at first estab- 
lished, under the order of the Missionary Board, at 
Bologna, but Dr. Vernon became satisfied that the 
proper center was Rome. He has succeeded in 
gathering around him a band of earnest native 
missionaries, some of whom are converts from the 
Roman Church, and who possess more than ordi- 
nary culture and ability. 

During the last year, he succeeded in purchasing 
a church site, in a central part of the city, and a neat 
building, of Gothic architecture, was erected, and was 
dedicated on last Christmas-day. On that occasion 
several probationers were received into full connec 
tion, the sacrament was administered to nearly one 

200 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

hundred •communicants, and three persons joined 
on trial. In connection with Mr. Piggott, superin- 
tendent of the Wesleyan Missions in that country, 
Dr. Vernon is also issuing a neat little periodical in 
the city of Rome. Thus Methodism stands face to 
face with Romanism in its own great center. 


In 1872 Dr. Maclay, who had spent many years in 
China, was selected to commence a mission in Japan. 
Several young missionaries were associated with him, 
and the mission has been opened under favorable 
circumstances. A neat edifice has been erected in 
Yokohama, and a few members have united with 
the Church. Two other chapels have been opened, 
and houses for the missionaries have been secured. 
In this mission, as also in the missions in China, India, 
and Mexico, the Woman's Missionary Society has 
taken an active part. 


The same year (1872) a mission was established in 
the Republic of Mexico, under the superintendence 
of Dr. Butler, who founded the mission in India. 
A beautiful and convenient property in the city of 
Mexico has been secured, as also church sites in 
Puebla and Pachuca. A mission press is in opera- 
tion, and orphanages, both for girls and boys, have 

From i860 ^^1875. 201 

been established. A number of native preachers 
are now united with the mission, and its prospects 
are encouraging. Notwithstanding it encounters 
the opposition of the priesthood, and of the igno- 
rant masses under their control, it is favorably re- 
ceived by the intelligent and liberal part of the 
people, and, in common with other Churches, is pro- 
tected by the Government. President Lerdo and his 
cabinet are friends of religious freedom and of gen- 
eral education ; and if Mexico can have a few years 
of tranquillity, grand results may be anticipated. 


Bishop Harris having been appointed to visit our 
foreign missions, sailed for that purpose from San 
Francisco in the summer of 1873, taking passage for 
Japan and China. He met the missionaries who had 
recently arrived in Japan, counseled with them, and 
directed them to fields of labor. Thence he passed 
to China, visiting the different mission stations, and 
preaching through an interpreter. Thence he passed 
to India, where he held the India Annual Conference, 
which has now become an active, vigorous body. He 
also visited the mission work outside of the confer- 
ence boundary. Returning through Palestine, he vis- 
ited the missions in Europe, and held the Conference 
of Germany and Switzerland. In accordance with 
the rcsohition of the General Conference, he attended 

202 A Hundred Years of Methodism, 

the Irish and British Wesleyan Conferences, and con- 
veyed to them the fraternal salutations of the 
Church. Thence he returned to New York, having 
completed the first circuit around the globe in the 
visitation of Methodist Conferences and Missions. 
Thus was realized by the Church the grand excla- 
mation of Mr. Wesley: "The world is my parish!" 
It would have been accomplished four years earlier, 
had not Bishop Kingsley fallen before his journey 
was completed. 

In 1873, Bishop Foster visited the missions in 
Scandinavia, Germany, and Switzerland, and held 
the German Conference. He also sailed to South 
America, visiting the missions there, and encourag- 
ing anfl strengthening the brethren. In the winter 
of 1872-3 Bishop Haven visited Mexico, laying, in 
conjunction with Dr. Butler, the superintendent, the 
foundation of our Church in that republic. The 
following year Bishop Simpson visited the Mexican 
mission, and in the summer of 1875 the missions in 
Italy and Scandinavia, also holding the Conference 
of Germany and Switzerland. Bishop Harris had 
designed to visit the missions in Africa, as Bishop 
Roberts, who had been elected Missionary Bishop 
in 1866, had died in 1874, but he was unexpectedly 
prevented by circumstances which he could not con- 
trol. Thus in the midst of the extension of the 
work at home, episcopal supervision was extended 
to the missionary work in all parts of the globe. 

From i860 to 1875. 203 

Since the General Conference of 1872 the Church 
has moved steadily forward. Notwithstanding the 
great financial depression which has prevailed in the 
country, a large number of new churches have been 
erected, and others have been rebuilt or improved. 
Increased attention has been paid to educational 
institutions, and the general interests of the Church 
are in a healthy and vigorous condition. The sub- 
ject of establishing fraternal relations between all 
the branches of Methodism has been considerably 
discussed in their respective bodies. The General 
Conference of 1872 passed resolutions favoring fra- 
ternal action, and appointed committees to visit the 
different bodies. These committees, in every in- 
stance, have been cordially received. Notwith- 
standing there still exist points of embarrassment 
and difficulty, it is believed a kindlier spirit is per- 
vading the Churches generally, and that the spirit 
of fraternity is constantly and steadily advancing. 


After the close of the General Conference Bishop 
Morris continued to grow more feeble, and on Sep- 
tember 2, 1874, he departed this life in the eighty- 
first year of his age, having been in the ministry for 
nearly sixty years. He was a man of great purity of 
character, simple in his habits, of strong common sense 
and superior administrative abilities, and, though 

204 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

reticenf in company, yet genial and affable among 
friends. As a pioneer preacher he had, in his ear- 
liei ministry, endured great hardships ; and subse- 
quently, both as presiding elder and as editor of the 
"Western Christian Advocate," he had been emi- 
nently successful. In every position he enjoyed the 
confidence and esteem of his brethren. 


The membership has increased from 1,421,323 at 
the close of 1871, to 1,580,559 at the close of 1875, 
being an increase of 169,236. Never in the history 
of the Church has there been such prosperity as in 
the last ten years. The membership of 1865 was 
929,259, and in the ten years succeeding there have 
been added 651,300, which is as large as the entire 
membership in 1836, seventy years after the forma- 
tion of the first Society, and fifty years from the or- 
ganization as a Church. 

Such unparalleled prosperity, however, is attend- 
ed with some disadvantages. About two fifths of 
the body having been added in ten years, there ex- 
ists within the Church a vast amount of undisci- 
plined and untrained membership. Educated under 
different forms, and with different prejudices, it is 
almost impossible to mold them speedily into a 
compact and homogeneous body. Hence many do 
not understand thoroughly Methodist discipHne or 

From i860 to 1875. 205 

usages, and cannot be expected to have that af- 
fection for them which prevails among the older 

Almost the same ratio prevails among the travel- 
ing preachers. In 1865 there were 7,175; in 1875, 
10,923. This shows an increase of 3,748, or more 
than tifty per cent. More than one third of the en- 
tire ministry of the Church is of less than ten years' 
standing. If we take into consideration the number 
of deaths, and the number of supernumerary and su- 
perannuated preachers, the proportion of the youth- 
ful part of the active ministry is still larger. 

As might naturally be expected under such cir- 
cumstances, there has been the revival of a number 
of mooted questions in church economy, which were 
thoroughly discussed half a century since, and upon 
which the Church then expressed its decided opin- 
ion. It is a matter, however, of no little satisfaction, 
til know that the discussions and propositions in our 
Church looking toward changes, are not the result of 
declension or decay, or even of a lack of prosperity. 
On the contrai)', they are the outgrowth of unprece- 
dented progress. 


If we contrast American Methodism as it existed 
in 1775 with the condition of even its largest branch, 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1875, the change 
is a wonderful one. Then there were 3,148 mem- 

2o6 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

bers , flow there are 1,580,557. Then there were 83 
traveHng preachers ; now there are 10,923. We do 
not know the number of the local preachers at that 
period, but now there are 12,881. Then we had no 
ordained ministers to administer the sacraments, 
and our members were not considered as an organ- 
ized Church. Now the Church is compact and 
thorough in its organization, exciting the admiration 
of sister Churches, and of the public, for its energy 
and Christian activity. Then we had a few small 
churches, not one of which was finished in its inte- 
rior. Now we have 15,633, The value of the church 
edifices was then insignificant ; now the value is 
estimated at $71,353,234. At that time there was 
not a*3ingle parsonage ; now we have 5,917, valued at 
$9,731,628. Then there was not a Sunday-school 
in operation in our bounds ; now we have 19,287 
schools, and the total of teachers and scholars 
amounts to 1,613,350. 

That the Church is now in a most vigorous con- 
dition, is shown also by the increase of church prop- 
erty. The first report of the number of churches 
and of their value was made in 1857. Then the 
number of the churches was 8,335 i ^^d the esti- 
mated value was $15,781,310. In 1865 the value 
was $26,750,502: in 1875, $71,353,234. The reader 
will notice that the last ten years has added of this 
sum $45,602,732, while the first hundred years had 

From i860 to 1875. 207 

accumulated only $26,750,532. Thus the value of 
church property has much more than doubled in 
the last ten years. 

A hundred years ago, we had neither a religious 
press, periodical, nor books published in this coun- 
try ; we had no university, college, or school. Now 
we have many periodicals ably conducted, and wide- 
ly circulated. From our presses are issuing, from 
time to time, works of intellectual and moral value. 
Colleges are increasing their endowments and their 
number of students. Multiplied seminaries are in 
active operation ; and our theological schools are 
well attended by hundreds of promising young men. 

Abroad, the missionary work has been blessed in 
every one of its widening fields ; and calls for more 
laborers, and more means to occupy opening terri- 
tory, are heard upon every side. Then the Church 
occupied but a strip upon our Atlantic border ; now 
it has spread into every State of the Union, and into 
every territory except Alaska. It has established 
its missions, and has a Conference organized, in 
every quarter of the globe. Its ritual is translated, 
its services are heard, and its hymns are sung in the 
German, Swedish, Danish, Spanish, French, Italian, 
Bulgarian, Hindoostanee, Chinese, and Japanese 
languages ; and, to some extent, in several of the 
Indian dialects of our own continent. Papers and 
tracts arc published by its presses in Germany, 

2o8 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Scandinavia, China, India, Italy, and Mexico. A 
theological school is in operation at Frankfort-on- 
the-Main, and one has been commenced in India; 
while in every mission-field, some arrangements 
have been made for preparing, on a limited scale, a 
few young men for the ministry. 

The centur}- has also witnessed a vast change in 
the relation of other Churches to Methodism. Then 
the various pulpits sounded notes of alarm, and 
Methodism was denounced as a fearful and danger- 
ous heresy. To-day it receives fraternal greetings 
from nearly all the large Churches in Christendom. 
It exchanges pulpits with many, and is recognized 
by nearly eveiy Protestant denomination, as an 
active*branch of Christ's visible Church. Its usages 
have also spread, in the form of revival work, into 
many of its sister denominations. 

During the century it has trained up, almost 
without exception, its own ministry ; and it has, in 
addition, furnished many of its young ministers to 
the pulpits of other denominations. Persecuted 
in its infancy, it has never persecuted in turn. Its 
theology is broad and comprehensive ; it proclaims 
free and full salvation ; it assumes no exclusive 
divine right either in discipline or usages ; it re- 
cognizes the right of each denomination to adopt 
for itself such plans as are in harmony with the 
Holy Scriptures, and are best adapted for the 

From 1860/^ 1875. 209 

accomplishment of its great work. It reaches .out a 
hand of fraternal greeting to the disciples of Christ 
every-where, and is at all times ready to join in any 
plan for the conversion of the world. 

What may be its future, is known only to Him 
who knows all things, and who controls all agencies. 
Should its sons emulate the wisdom and devotion of 
their fathers, and follow in their footsteps ; should it 
wisely conserve its Church unity and energy; should 
it maintain its spirit of piety and its loyalty to the 
great Head of the Church ; then, in the coming cen- 
tury, its prayers will ascend, and its songs resound 
in every land and in all languages, and it will join, 
with the other branches of Christ's Church, in the 

song of millennial triumph over a redeemed world. 

210 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


doctrines, usages, and economy. 

T T AVING given a simple sketch of the rise and 
^ -^ progress of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
we may notice, in a more connected form, its doc- 
trines, usages, government, and institutions, that the 
thoughtful reader may the better perceive the cause 

of its success. 


The doctrines of Methodism are contained in 
its *' Articles of Faith," and its moral code and 
chief principles in its General Rules. {See Appendix^ 
Its creed may be styled evangelical Arminian. It 
teaches the natural depravity of the human heart ; 
the atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ as a 
sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world ; 
that salvation is offered to every individual on con- 
dition of repentance toward God and faith in our 
Lord Jesus Christ; that a man is justified by faith 
alone, but that good works follow and flow from a 
living faith. It teaches that every believer may have 
the witness of the Spirit attesting his sonship, and 
insists upon *' following after holiness, without which 
no man shall see the Lord." It also teaches the 

Doctrines^ Usages^ and Economy, 211 

doctrines of future rewards and punishments, the 
immortahty of the soul, and the resurrection of the 
body. Its system of doctrines is similar to that of 
the Church of England, omitting its Calvinistic arti- 
cle, and putting more stress upon the work of the 
Spirit in the conscious purification of the heart. 
It differs from the Calvinistic Churches, by reject- 
ing the doctrines of election and reprobation, and 
of the impossibility of falling from grace. It differs 
from the Unitarians, by asserting the divinity of the 
Lord Jesus Christ ; and from the Pelagians, by hold- 
ing the natural corruption of the human heart, and 
human inability, without divine grace, to turn from 
sin to holiness. It teaches, however, that a suffi- 
cient measure of that grace is given to every man 
to profit withal, and that through the merits of the 
atonement, full salvation is the privilege of every 


Its doctrines being thus broad and comprehensive, 
its usages partake of the same spirit. It recognizes 
every true believer as a part of the sacramental host 
of the Lord Jesus Christ. It urges each individual 
to seek a clear and definite experience, and then to 
work for the salvation of others. Its members are 
divided into classes, consisting usually of from twelve 
to thirty, which are expected to meet once a week 
for religious conversation, instruction, and prayer. 

212 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

The services are conducted by one appointed for 
the purpose, who is styled the class leader. In 
these meetings such advice and sympathy are af- 
forded as conduce to the edification of the members. 
Each one is expected to participate, the youngest as 
well as the oldest, the women as well as the men, 
and thus each becomes accustomed to speak of his 
religious experience and to take part in religious 
duties. Occasionally, larger social meetings are 
held, termed "general class meetings;" and at cer- 
tain stated periods a love-feast, in which, after the 
example of the ancient Christians, they partake of 
bread and water in token of fraternal affection and 
Christian union, and an hour is devoted to religious 
expefience. The members are also urged to engage, 
according to their opportunities, in teaching in Sun- 
day-schools, and in visiting the sick and the poor. 
Young men who manifest a truly devotional spirit, 
and feel themselves inclined thereto, are permitted 
to give a word of exhortation, and, if approved by 
the membership, they are licensed as exhorters. 


Such of these as feel inwardly called of God for 
more public duties, and are believed by the Church 
to possess the requisite ability, are licensed as local 
preachers. These, while performing public duties on 
the Sabbath, follow their accustomed avocations dur- 

Doctrines, Usages, and Economy. 2 1 3 

ing the week, and are of no expense to the Church. 
From among these the traveHng ministry is chosen, 
upon a recommendation of the Society, and of the 
Quarterly Conference of which they are members. 
Thus the ministry arises, from time to time, from 
the bosom of the Church. Some come from its 
schools and colleges, while others are recognized as 
called of God and prepared for active work, who 
may not have enjoyed such important advantages. 
* As we have previously remarked, the platform of 
Methodism, so far as it affects the individual and 
the societies, is precisely the same as that laid down 
by Mr. Wesley in its early organization. In all its 
great outlines it is preserved in every division and 
every branch of the Methodist family. In the admin- 
istration of the sacraments, it inculcates the largest 
liberality. The candidate for baptism chooses for 
himself the mode of its administration, the Church 
believing, that the essential element in the ordinance 
is the application of water in the name of the Holy 
Trinity, indicating the Spirit's influences in cleansing 
the heart and conscience, and that the mode is not 
clearly defined or limited in the Holy Scriptures. 
So also, in the administration of the Lord's Supper, 
it invites to the communion all believers in the 
atoning merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, without 
reference to speculative points of creed, or to what 
division of the Church militant they may belong. 

214 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Where individual Churches or Societies are not 
sufficiently strong for the support of the minister, 
several are united together, constituting what is 
termed a " circuit," which the minister visits in reg- 
ular order, dividing his labors among them. In 
early times and in sparse populations these circuits 
sometimes included from thirty to forty appoint- 
ments, scattered over an area of from ten to one 
hundred miles. This imposed great labor on the 
minister, but carried religious services to those who' 
otherwise would have been destitute. Thus the 
Church became a strong element of Christian civili- 
zation, in teaching and restraining those who would 
have been beyond the limits of other religious influ- 
ences. The first circuit which the writer traveled 
embraced thirty-four appointments in six weeks. 
As population becomes more dense and the Church 
grows strong, these circuits are divided and sub- 
divided, until at last each appointment becomes a 
separate and self-sustaining congregation, and is 
usually called a " station." 

The officers of the Church are, first, the class 
leaders, of whom we have spoken ; secondly, from 
five to nine individuals, who are called stewards, are 
selected to attend to the financial interests of the 
charge, as to its current expenses. Their duty is 
also to confer with the minister, and advise in refer- 
ence to the general management of the work. 

Doctrines, Usages , and Economy, 215 

Thirdly, the church property is vested in trust- 
ees, appointed or elected for the purpose, who 
hold the property and manage its interests, in 
trust, for the use of the Church, and in further trust, 
that the pulpit shall be occupied, from time to time, 
by such ministers as shall be appointed according to 
the rules of the Church. In large churches in the 
cities the trustees attend to the duties of the stew- 
ards as well as of their own, there being but one 
financial department ; but in the work generally, the 
current expenses and the interests of the property 
are administered by different boards. Perhaps in 
no one thing was the foresight of Mr. Wesley more 
clearly seen than in this arrangement. The stew- 
ards, owning no property and being alone responsible 
for the current expenses, no debt was permitted to 
accumulate. Each year, so far as the salary of the 
minister was concerned, closed its operations. Some- 
times the minister left his work sadly deficient, but 
he had no further claim. Usually, however, the 
stewards and the members were stimulated to make 
up all deficiencies before the time expired. 

Where societies build their own churches by con- 
tributions wholly among themselves, it would be 
equitable that their property should be responsible 
for their engagements to their ministers ; but from 
tlic beginning of Methodist history, the churches 
were built not exclusively, oftentimes, indeed, in 

2i6 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

small part, by the local societies. Subscriptions and 
collections were made in adjacent charges to build 
houses of worship, which should not be put in jeop- 
ardy by any temporary neglect of the immediate lo- 
cality. Thus the connectional bond of Methodism 
was strengthened, and in its poorest periods, the sale 
of a church was a very rare occurrence, as Method- 
ists every-where felt more or less interested in the 
erection and preservation of every church. 


For counsel and supervision the leaders and stew- 
ards, in stations or small circuits, meet the preacher 
weekly,* or at short periods, to report the condition 
of the classes and to advise as to all matters of cur- 
rent interest. The government of the individual 
Church, however, is vested in what is termed the 
Quarterly Conference, which assembles once in ev- 
ery three months. The minister or ministers regu- 
larly appointed, the local preachers, exhorters, stew- 
ards, class leaders, and such trustees and superin- 
tendents of Sunday-schools, as are members of the 
Church, compose this body. The stewards of the 
Church are elected by the Quarterly Conference on 
the nomination of the preacher, and, the trustees 
are answerable to it for the correct performance of 
their duties. It has also the control of the Sunday- 

Doctrines y Usages ^ and Economy. 217 

schools in its bounds ; and it recommends such per- 
sons as it may approve to be licensed as local 
preachers. It also recommends local preachers to 
be admitted on trial in the Annual Conferences, or 
to be ordained. Its president is the presiding elder 
of the district, who is required to visit every charge 
once in three months, and to inquire into its practi- 
cal workings during that period. 


The last General Conference authorized the for- 
mation of District Conferences, but left to the Quar- 
terly Conferences of each district to decide whether 
they should be held. Probably about one half of 
the districts made the experiment. Jn many in- 
stances they have been a decided success, and have 
proved of great value. In other instances they have 
accomplished but little. Where constituted, they 
are composed of the preachers, traveling and local, 
the exhorters, and the district stewards, and one 
Sunday-school superintendent from each charge. 
All matters pertaining to the licensing, recommend- 
ing, and trying local preachers are transferred to 


The peculiar feature of Methodism is the itinerancy 
of its ministers. Primarily each congregation has 
the right to select its own minister, and each min- 

2i8 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ister has the right to select his own congregation. 
The period of ministerial stay must then depend 
upon the negotiations and engagements between 
the respective parties. This is the theory and prac- 
tice of all Congregational Churches. In Presbyte- 
rian Churches and other connectional bodies, before 
these arrangements can be perfected, the consent 
of the Presbytery, or, in the Protestant Episcopal 
Church, the consent of the bishop, must be obtained. 
The system of an itinerant ministry requires that 
the congregations on the one hand, and the minis- 
ters on the other, shall agree to submit to a selected 
umpire, the arrangement of the appointments. Both 
parties are at liberty, however, so far as they may see 
fit, to itiake known their peculiar condition, wishes, 
or circumstances. 


The ministers within certain boundaries assemble 
each year, their meeting being called an Annual Con- 
ference. In this body the character of each minister 
is carefully examined and approved, as he represents 
not himself merely as an individual, but the whole 
body of the ministry of which he is a member. 
The bishop, who presides at an Annual Conference, 
after consultation with the presiding elders, and after 
having received as full information as practicable, an- 
nually appoints each minister to his field of labor. 

Doctrines, Usages, and Economy. 219 

Prior to 1804 the bishop was at hberty to continue 
a minister in the same charge without Hmit ; but 
the usual practice was to change every year, and 
sometimes changes were made two or three times 
during the year. At that time the great mass of 
ministers were single men, and could change without 
inconvenience. We are informed i^;: Mr. Ware that, 
as late as 1809, when the Virginia Conference con- 
sisted of eighty-four members, there were but three 
who had families. In 1804 it was agreed that no 
minister should remain more than two years suc- 
cessively upon a circuit or station. This continued 
to be the law of the Church until 1864, when the 
ministerial term was lengthened from two to three 
)'cars, subject, however, to annual appointment. 

This s}'stem imposes no small privations, and 
oftentimes hardships, upon the ministers. From 
the earliest period of the Church, the ministers have 
been remarkable for their self-sacrificing heroism, 
and this spirit fitted them for the great work which 
they have accomplished. 

The itinerancy, however, furnishes for the Church 
a variety of ministerial talent ; and where changes 
are desired, they can be annually arranged, without 
that fiction ivhich so frequently arises where no 
provision is made for periodical changes. 

At these Annual Conferences, the general inter- 
ests of the Churches within their bounds are also 

220 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

carefully considered, and such order is taken as is 
deemed to be for the benefit of the whole. 

Preachers recommended by the Quarterly or Dis- 
trict Conferences may be admitted by the Annual 
Conference on trial. They are then subject to ap- 
pointment by the bishop. After two years' proba- 
tion, and after passing a prescribed course of study, 
they are eligible to admission into full connection. 
If admitted, they have a right to participate in all 
the deliberations and business of the Conference. 
They are also eligible to deacons' orders. After 
two years' appointments as deacons, and having 
pursued their course of study, they are eligible to 
elders' orders. For missionary work the probation 
for orders may not be required. 

Local preachers, if properly recommended and 
qualified, may be elected and ordained as deacons 
after four years' experience in the ministry, and as 
elders after four years' service as deacons. 


The supreme government of the Church is vested 
in the General Conference. At the Christmas Con- 
ference of 1784 this body was composed of all the 
traveling preachers. They were invited to meet 
Dr. Coke, who came as the representative of Mr. 
Wesley, who had been earnestly requested to aid 
them in the organization of an independent Church. 

Doctrines, Usages^ and Economy. 221 

During the following eight years, whatever measures 
were enacted were made binding only by the votes 
of the preachers in the Annual Conferences. As 
this system was cumbersome, and tended to a sepa- 
ration of interests, a General Conference was called 
in 1792, to which all the preachers in full connec- 
tion were invited ; and from that time the General 
Conference has met every fourth year. After 1796 
only elders were permitted to attend. 

From 1792 to 1808 the General Conference pos- 
sessed supreme and absolute authority. By the 
simple vote of the majority, it had power to change 
any article of faith or any usage of the Church, or 
to alter or abolish any feature of church govern- 
ment. Many thoughtful ministers and laymen 
feared that, under the influence of some sudden 
excitement, the form and condition of the Church 
might be radically affected. At one of the early 
sessions of the General Conference it was determined 
tluit no old rule should be changed without the vote 
of two thirds of the members. But this rule could 
at any time have been rescinded. 

In addition to this feeling of insecurity, there 
arose another difficulty. The General Conference 
Was held as near the center of the work as possible, 
which, at that time, was the city of Baltimore. The 
ministers who were distant found it both expensive 
and troublesome to take the long journeys necessary 

222 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

for attendance ; and the practical result was, that the 
majority of the General Conference was composed, 
for several sessions, of the ministers of the Balti- 
more and Philadelphia Conferences. Dissatisfaction 
sprung up at the extremities, and the distant Con- 
ferences insisted upon the constitution of a delegated 
body, so that each part of the Church might be fairly 
represented. As we have stated, the General Con- 
ference of 1808 agreed to constitute a delegated 
Conference, to be composed of not less than one for 
every seven members of the Annual Conferences. 

In constituting this delegated body, however, the 
preachers were unwilling to clothe it with the full 
power which they possessed, and they placed it under 
certain limitations, which are usually known as the 
" Restrictive Rules," forbidding it to make certain 
changes without the consent of the majority of every 
Annual Conference. These restrictions were six in 
number, and were as follows : — 

" I. The General Conference shall not revoke, 
alter, or change our Articles of Religion, nor estab- 
lish any new standards, nor rules of doctrine con- 
trary to our present existing and established stand- 
ards of doctrine. 

" 2. They shall not allow of more than one repre- 
sentative for every five members of the Annual 
Conference, nor allow of a less number than one for 
every seven. 

Doctrines, Usages, and Economy. 223 

" 3. They shall not change or alter any part or 
rule of our government so as to do away Episcopacy, 
or destroy the plan of our itinerant General Super- 

'' 4. They shall not revoke or change the General 
Rules of the United Societies. 

" 5. They shall not do away the privileges of our 
ministers or preachers of trial by a committee, and 
of an appeal; neither shall they do away the privi- 
lege of our members of trial before the Society or 
by a Committee, and of an appeal. 

" They shall not appropriate the profits of the 
Book Concern, nor of the Chartered Fund, to any 
purpose other than for the benefit of the traveling, 
supernumerary, superannuated and worn-out preach- 
ers, their wives, widows, and children." 

These restrictions could never be altered except 
according to the following proviso : — 

''Provided, nevertJieless, That upon the joint rec- 
ommendation of all the Annual Conferences, then a 
majority of two thirds of the General Conference 
succeeding shall suffice to alter any of the above 

The ratio of representation, which in 1808 was 
one for L\cry five, was changed in 1816, according 
to the limit allowed, to one for every seven. As 
the Church increased in the number of its ministers, 
the General Conference became, at each term, a 

224 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

larger -body. An effort was made in 1824 to altet 
the second Restrictive Rule, so as to require fewer 
delegates ; but as by that time it was felt by some 
Conferences that the restriction against changes 
was unnecessarily severe, some of the central Con- 
ferences refused to agree to any change until the 
proviso itself could be enlarged. After considerable 
delay, in 1832 the proviso was altered, with the con 
currence of all the Annual Conferences, to read as 
follows : — 

" Provided, nevertheless, That upon the concurrent 
recommendation of three fourths of all the members 
of the several Annual Conferences who shall be 
present and vote upon such recommendation, then 
a majority of two thirds of the General Conference 
succeeding shall suffice to alter any of the above 
restrictions, excepting the first article ; and, also, 
whenever such alteration or alterations shall have 
been first recommended by two thirds of the General 
Conference, so soon as three fourths of the members 
of all the Annual Conferences shall have concurred, 
as aforesaid, such alteration or alterations shall take 

This proviso having been changed, the second 
Restrictive Rule was altered in 1832, so as not to 
" allow of more than one representative for every 
fourteen members of the Annual Conference, nor al- 
low of a less number than one for every thirty." It 

Doctrines, Usages, and Economy. 225 

was also provided that a fraction of two thirds 
should be entitled to a delegate, and that no Con- 
ference should be denied two delegates. In 1856 
the General Conference, by a two-thirds vote, recom- 
mended the insertion of forty-five as the limit, in- 
stead of thirty, and the measure was adopted by the 
vote of the Annual Conferences. 

Under this proviso several changes have since 
been made on the original Restrictions. The first 
was in 1848, altering the fourth Restriction, so as to 
change the General Rule on intoxicating liquors to 
read : " Drunkenness, buying or selling spirituous 
liquors, or drinking them, unless in cases of extreme 

The second was in 1856, altering the third Re- 
striction, so as to permit the election of a missionary 
bishop for any foreign mission, limiting his episcopal 
jurisdiction to the same. 

The third was the alteration on the recommenda- 
tion of the Annual Conferences, in 1864, of the 
fourth Restriction, so as to make non-slaveholding 
a term of membership. 

The fourth change was the recommendation of 

the General Conference in 1864, altering the second 

Rc:.triction, so as to allow the smaller Conferences 

but one delegate, which was approved subsequently 

by the Annual Conferences. 

The fifth and last change was made on the recom- 

226 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


mendation of the General Conference of 1868, of 
the second Restriction, so as to allow the introduc- 
tion of lay delegates into the General Conference ; 
and which was subsequently ratified by the Annual 
Conferences. Outside of these restrrctions, the power 
of the General Conference is still supreme. 

The introduction of the lay element into the 
General Conference brought the actual government 
of the Church into harmony with its article of faith, 
which vests in the Church the right " to retain, 
change, or abolish rites and ceremonies, so that all 
things may be done to edification ; " and, further, 
defining the Church to be " a congregation of faithful 
men," etc. 

Tne fact that, prior to that time, the government 
of the Church was vested wholly in the ministry, 
was no fault of theirs, or the evidence of any desire 
to exercise undue authority. The government of 
the Church arose out of the pressing exigencies of 
the case. Congregations were few and far between ; 
the laity could not be assembled, and it was found 
in every way much more convenient to refer all ar- 
rangements to the ministry. Nor did the majority 
of the laity ever manifest a desire to be admitted 
into the General Conference until that Conference 
had freely opened the way. The General Confer- 
ence creates and constitutes the boundaries of the 
Annual Conferences. It is the only law-making 

Doctrines, Usages^ and Economy. 227 

power in the Church, the Annual Conferences being 
confined to matters administrative and judicial. 


The General Conference carries out its purposes, 
through an executive arrangement consisting of the 
bishops and presiding elders. By their agency, it ex- 
ercises a general supevintendence over the Church. 
The bishops, or, as they were originally called, su- 
perintendents, are elected by the General Conference, 
and are consecrated by its authority. The episco- 
pacy of Methodism is not, like that of the Protest- 
ant Episcopal Church, diocesan, or limited to locality, 
but is coterminous with the Church. In this respect 
our friends of other denominations are sorely per- 
plexed. Notwithstanding our system has been before 
the public for nearly a hundred years, it seems to be 
comprehended by comparatively few ; for the ques- 
tion is asked almost every day, in reference to any 
of the bishops, " What is his diocese? " or, " In what 
State does he preside ? " 

Such a number of bishops is elected by the Gen- 
eral Conference as is supposed to be necessary to 
supervise the general interests. They arrange from 
time to time, among themselves, by the authority 
af the General Conference, where their work shall 
be done, and they visit the Annual Conferences in 
iuch order as is deemed best. Each one has, in the 

228 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

field which he visits and supervises, full authority 
for the time being; whether he visits, now a con- 
ference in Oregon, or the following year one in 
Florida, or Maine, or Germany, or India. 

As in the itinerancy, so in the episcopacy, this 
general supervision is accompanied with toil, and 
oftentimes with privations, but the unity of the 
Church in its general features and administration is 
secured. The writer kept an accurate account of 
his travels for several years, and found that they 
varied but little from an average of two thousand 
miles per month. 

The episcopacy in the Methodist Church differs 
from that of some other Churches in a second feat- 
ure.* It claims no apostolic succession or special 
Divine authority. The Methodist episcopacy is re- 
garded as an office of the Church, not distinct in 
order from the eldership, but authorized by the 
Church for the promotion of its grand design of 
" spreading scriptural holiness " over the world. In 
this respect it is not recognized by what is called 
the High-Church party. It derives its authority 
merely from the Church, and while the consecration 
is performed by a bishop, provision is made that 
if all should die, a new bishop elected would be con- 
secrated by the hands of elders. Thus the theory 
and practice of the Church stand wholly opposed 
to any idea of prelacy. Thirdly, in other Episcopal 

Doctrines, Usages, and Economy. 229 

Churches, the bishops are part of the law-making 
power. In the Roman Catholic Church this power 
is chiefly in the hands of the bishops. In the Prot- 
estant Episcopal Church they constitute a. distinct 
house, and no measure can be adopted without their 
concurrence. In the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
they have no legislative functions whatever, not 
having a vote in any Conference — quarterly, district, 
annual, or general. They are simply executive or 
administrative officers. 

The use of the word " order," however, has given 
rise to some confusion. That term is sometimes 
used to signify a Divine arrangement, and in this 
sense, generally, the phrase is applied to the order 
of deacons, to the order of elders, and in the high 
Episcopal Churches, to the order of bishops. In 
this sense our bishops are not a separate order. 
But the word "order" is sometimes used in the 
sense of class, or diversity of arrangement. We 
speak of the order of traveling preachers, and of the 
order of local preachers ; we speak of the order of 
presiding elders, and of the order of bishops. The 
ceremony of consecration indicates this kind of a 
distinct class; but which, we repeat, is a class of 
office, and not of any Divine order. 

In our ordination service, there is allusion made 
to •• diverse orders of ministers in the Church ; " and 
this doubtless refers to apostles, evangelists, teach- 

230 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ers, auS pastors, as well as to deacons and elders. 
For, primarily, as to the Divine call, we recognize 
but one order in the ministry ; and we receive from 
other Churches brethren who have been, without 
a previous ordination as deacons, ordained as elders 
according to the usages of their respective Churches. 
The bishops are required to preside in the Annual 
Conferences, and to see that in the administration, 
the authority of the General Conference is pre- 
served, and its directions executed. It is also made 
their duty to supervise the temporal and spiritual 
interests of the Church. By this it is understood 
that the General Conference holds them responsible 
for a proper exercise of supervision, and for report- 
ing t« it what may be deemed necessary for the 
interests of the Church. They are also directed to 
ordain such ministers, as deacons or elders, as are 
duly elected by the Annual Conference. 


It is impossible, however, for the bishops, being 
few in number, to superintend in detail the admin- 
istration. To assist them, presiding elders are ap- 
pointed, varying in number in each Annual Confer- 
ence from two to ten. The duty of these presiding 
elders is, to visit every charge within their district 
once every three months, and to supervise their ad- 
ministration. These districts consist, according to 

Discipline, Usages, and Economy. 231 

circumstances, of from twelve to sixty charges. 
They preside in the Quarterly Conferences, and de- 
cide such questions of law as may from time to 
time arise. Their term of office on any one district 
has been limited since 1792 to four years. 

In the intervals of Conference, they are author- 
ized to make such arrangements, by the interchange 
of preachers within their districts, as the necessities 
of the Church may require. In cases of charges 
against ministers they preside in the preliminary in- 
vestigation. Becoming personally acquainted 'with 
the official boards within their charges, and holding 
services in each congregation, they receive informa- 
tion concerning the circumstances and qualifications 
of the preachers, and concerning the necessities and 
wishes of the different congregations. Hence, at 
Conference, they are enabled to give to the presid- 
ing bishop such information and advice as may be 
necessary for a proper arrangement of the work. 


Through this plan of superintendency, the Gen- 
eral Conference is able to maintain a uniform system 
of discipline throughout the Church. For while in 
the districts the presiding elder supervises the ad- 
ministration in each charge, he is responsible to the 
bishop lor the correct performance of that part of 
his duti. s • and the General Conference holds the 

232 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

bishop* responsible for the entire administration, as 
they have given him the right of appointing and 
changing the presiding elders as the necessities of 
the Church may require. 

The General Conference has no direct control over 
either preachers or presiding elders. These are re- 
sponsible for their moral conduct to their Annual 
Conferences. But as the presiding elders receive 
their official appointments from the bishops, who 
are held responsible, both personally and officially, 
to the General Conference, that body retains its 
power over every department of the Church. In our 
Union, Congress exercises its authority over the 
people in all the States through the United States 
officers who are appointed under the Government, 
and who execute its will in the several States. 
Were the judges, marshals, and collectors, within 
the bounds of the several States, appointed by the 
States, the general Government would be powerless 
to secure unity or obedience to its laws. So, if the 
bishops and presiding elders were elected by the An- 
nual Conferences, and were amenable primarily to 
them for their administration, the General Confer- 
ence would have no means of enforcing its directions. 
But, under our general system, an enactment ol the 
General Conference is observed in the Annual Con- 
ferences under the administration of the bishop, and 
in the Quarterly Conferences under that of the pre- 

Doctrines, Usages, attd Economy. 233 

siding elders. Should a preacher refuse to obey the 
orders of the General Conference, he can, if necessary, 
be changed by the presiding elder; and if the presid- 
ing elder should refuse, he can be removed by the 
bishop. But for their moral conduct, or for any wrong 
done in administration, the presiding elders, as well as 
the preachers, are responsible to the Annual Confer- 
ences, who alone have power to affix any penalty. 
The power of the bishop over the elders is simply 
confined to appointment or removal from the special 
office. The guard against the abuse of trust on the 
part of the episcopacy lies in the fact that the General 
Conference, having supreme authority, has the right 
to remove the bishop from office, or to expel him from 
the Church at any time, not only for immorality or 
decided improprieties, but also for any cause what- 
ever, either of inefficiency or unacceptability, through 
which the Church sustains an injury. 

Prior to 1808 the General Conference, by a simple 
voic of a majority, could have abolished the epis- 
copacy or altered any part of the plan of superin- 
tcndcncy, making the Church either Presbyterian or 
Congregational. Since that period, such a change 
can only be effected by a vote of two thirds of the 
General Conference, with the concurrence of the 
requisite majority of the Annual Conferences. 

What that episcopacy was (alluded to in 1808) 
which must not be destroyed, or what the plan of 

234 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

our general superintendency was which must not be 
destroyed without a concurrent vote of the preachers 
is shown by the history of the preceding period, when 
the nature and duties of that episcopacy were clearly 
understood, and the plan of that general superin- 
tendency was well defined. As we have already 
seen, the episcopacy of which our fathers spoke, as 
well as the general superintendency, were peculiar to 
the system of Methodism ; and they were designed 
to exist as they were then understood, until, by the 
general concurrence of the Church, it should be 
deemed wise to abolish or modify. 

Prior to 1 808 the General Conference was com- 
posed of all the members of the Conferences who had 
traveled four years. The bishops were component 
parts of the body, and as such they took part in the 
deliberations, both by making motions and by join- 
ing in the debates ; but when the General Confer- 
ence became a delegated body, their duties were 
limited, in the General Conference, to the office of 
presiding. The system of appointments was the 
same it is to-day. From the beginning, the appoint- 
ments of the preacher? were made by the bishops, 
but the term of the appointments was limited accord- 
ing to the discretion of the General Conference. So, 
also, from the beginning, the General Conference 
elected its book agents and its editors, and made 
them exceptions to the ministerial term. Since 

Doctrines, Usages, and Economy. 235 

that period, they have extended the number of these 
exceptional appointments, but have always adhered 
to the same principle. 

It will be apparent to the thoughtful observer, 
that the manner of sujiervising the charges in a 
Conference such as the British Wesleyan, where 
the governing and administrative body is the same, 
must be very different from that of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, where the governing power resides 
in one General Conference ; but the administration 
is performed through eighty-one Annual Confer- 
ences. These Conferences, too, are not in the com- 
pass of an island scarcely equal in area to some one 
of our States, but occupy the territory not merely 
of a large portion of this continent, and are scattered 
in the four quarters of the globe. The latter condi- 
tion requires an agency to secure unity of adminis- 
tration for which the other has no necessity. 

There has been much difference of opinion, and 
no little discussion, from time to time, over the 
office of the presiding elder. The chief friction has 
arisen from the fact, that the presence and services 
of the presiding elder are but little needed by the old 
and strong charges, and yet the greater part of his 
support is assessed upon them. The functions of 
the office are chiefly twofold — supervision and ag- 
gressive action. The first is especially required 
where the preachers are young and inexperienced 

236 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

and tlie second, for the commencement of new 
charges, and the encouragement and strengthening 
of Churches. 

Some arrangement seems desirable by which the 
labors of a presiding elder can be so distributed 
that the Churches shall see the importance of the 
office in its missionary aspect and its connectional 
functions. For where the order of the congregation 
is well settled, its finances regularly managed, and 
its pastor a man of experience and of correct prac- 
tice, the duties of an elder in that congregation ap- 
pear limited to simple routine matters, which are of 
scarcely any value. It is only by the perception 
and consideration of its wider influences that the 
Chur(!hes can feel its necessity. Whether a system 
can be devised by which the efficiency of supervision 
can be maintained over feeble societies and younger 
ministers, and by which the wants of both preachers 
and congregations can be fully understood, as well 
as their adaptation of each to the other, and yet the 
expense be so arranged as not to fall too heavily on 
those Churches who receive the least benefit, may 
well demand the careful consideration of the mem- 
bers of the General Conference. 

Church Institutions. 237 



HAVING thus given a brief and succinct view 
of th'e doctrines and general economy of the 
:hurch, we pass to notice those institutions and 
agencies through which it has exerted a wide- 
spread influence. 


The first of these in the order of time was the 
pubhshing house. We have already seen that Mr. 
Wesley's attention was early occupied with the pub- 
lication of religious tracts and books. These inter- 
ests grew upon his hands, until he was compelled 
to place them under the control of other persons 
termed book stewards. He early enjoined upon his 
preachers to spread the books, and to encourage the 
Societies to purchase them as far as they were able. 
The first missionaries who were sent to America, 
Messrs. Boardman and Pilmoor, were preceded by 
some two months by Robert Williams, who came 
to America on business, but who, previous to his 
Coining, obtained from Mr. Wesley a license to 
preach under the authority of the missionaries who 
were about to come. 

238 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Being* a man of business, as well as a local preach- 
er, he commenced, at a very early period, the re- 
publication of some of Mr. Wesley's sermons and 
tracts. In some manner this came to Mr. Wesley's 
knowledge, and in 1772 he wrote to Mr. Asbury 
requesting that Robert Williams should not re- 
publish his works without his consent.' In March, 
1773, Mr. Asbury notices in his Journal that he had 
learned that Mr. Williams was publishing religious 
books for the sake of "gain, and adds, " This will 
not do." 

The first Conference, which assembled in Phila- 
delphia in July, 1773, and over which Mr. Rankin 
presided, passed a resolution that no one must re- 
publish Mr. Wesley's books " without the consent 
of Mr. Wesley, when it can be obtained, and the 
consent of his brethren." A further minute was 
made, that Robert Williams might sell the books 
he had already printed, but should print no more 
except under the above restrictions. These notices 
are the earliest intimations we find of Methodist 
books being published by the preachers. Long be- 
fore that time Benjamin Franklin had reprinted 
Mr. Wesley's sermon on " Free Grace," and also 
several of Mr. Whitefield's. From 1773 to 1789 we 
find no allusion in the Minutes to Methodist publi- 
cations, though there are notices of Mr. Wesley's 
hymns and sermons, and other books. 

Church Institutions. 239 

The first mention of the book business in the 
Minutes is in 1789, when Jolin Dickins was ap- 
pointed book steward, and superintended the busi- 
ness in Philadelphia. From that time a record has 
been preserved. It has been usually supposed that 
this was the commencement of our Book Concern ; 
but the presumption is, that in some way it was 
carried on from 1773, and the profits divided to 
support the preachers. Mr. Lee tells us that John 
Dickins located in 1781, and never traveled regular- 
ly afterward ; but we are also informed, that, on 
the invitation of Mr. Asbury, then the general su- 
perintendent, he went in 1783 to New York, at the 
close of the Revolutionary war, '* for the purpose 
of superintending our book business." We find, 
also, that two preachers were sent to New York 
in 1783, and the number of members at its close 
amounted only to sixty ; from which we infer that 
John Dickins, who was the junior preacher, must 
have been engaged chiefly, if not wholly, in this 
business. The following year we find him in charge 
of New York, and at his side, on Long Island, was 
Philip Coxe, with a membership of only twenty- 
four; and we further find, that when, in 1789, John 
Dickins's name first appeared as book steward, in 
Philadelphia, the name of Philip Coxe appears also 
as book steward, connected with the Virginia Dis- 
trict. This suggests that probably as early as 1784, 

240 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

they w6re in some manner associated in that work. 
With the exception of the year 1785, when we find 
the name of John Dickins among the Virginia ap- 
pointments, he was stationed in New York until 
1789, when he was transferred to Philadelphia; thus 
having been in that city five years, with but one 
year's interval. 

We are not left wholly to conjecture as to this 
book business before 1789, for we find Mr. Asbury, 
in 1786, looking over the papers of the " Book Con- 
cern," and in the Discipline of 1787 the following 
minute occurs : " As it has been frequently recom- 
mended by the preachers and people that such 
books as are wanted be printed in this country, we 
therefore purpose, first, that the advice of the Con- 
ference be desired concerning any valuable impres- 
sion, and their consent be obtained before any steps 
be taken for the printing thereof. And, second, 
that the profits of the books, after all necessary ex- 
penses are defrayed, shall be applied, according to 
the direction of the Conference, toward the col- 
lege, the preachers' fund, the deficiencies of our 
preachers, the distant missions, or the debts on our 
churches." On this Mr. Lee remarks : " From that 
time we began to print more of our own books, in 
the United States, than we had ever done before, 
and the principal part of the printing business was 
carried on in New York." If we were to infer the 

Church Institutions. 241 

magnitude from the character of the objects to 
which the profits were to be appropriated, we should 
fancy they were then of no small amount. Unfor- 
tunately no records remain of those early dates. 

When Mr. Dickins commenced in Philadelphia 
the work of publication there was little, if any, 
accumulated capital ; for it was said that he lent 
from his funds six hundred dollars to commence the 
busir|:ss. It is further stated that the first publica- 
tions were, " The Christian's Pattern," by Thomas 
k Kempis, an edition of the " Discipline," and the 
"Saints' Everlasting Rest." Mr. Lee says, speak- 
ing of 1789, " In the course of this year we had the 
fifth edition of our ' Discipline ' published." These 
were followed by one volume of the "Arminian 
Magazine," and a part of " Fletcher's Checks." The 
council which met in 1789 asserted one of its duties 
to be, " to direct and manage all the printing which 
may be done from time to time for the use and 
benefit of the Methodist Church in America ; " and 
at its session in 1790, it selected traveling book stew- 
ards, and directed what books should be published. 
Among them we notice four volumes of Mr. Wes- 
ley's Sermons. It appears that some profit had 
then accrued, for we find in its proceedings the fol- 
lowing question and answer: — 

Question. " Shall the bishop have power to draw 

any money out of the book business for the partial 

242 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

supply of any Church or preacher that may be in 
pressing need?" 

Answer. " By the recommendation of the elder 
of a district the bishop may draw as far as three 
pounds per annum, but no further." 

Unfortunately, the Minutes of the General Confer- 
ence of 1792 were not preserved. Mr. Lee says: 
" At this Conference we again employed John Dick- 
ins to superintend our printing interests in Phila- 
delphia, for which he was to be allowed a house and 
%666 33 per year," which was to be paid out of the 
profits arising from the business. Conference also 
agreed there should be allowed to Cokesbury College, 
out of the profits arising from the printing of books 
amon^ us, $4,000 in the course of four years to come ; 
$800 to be allowed the first year, and the rest to be 
equally divided for the remaining three years. As 
the college was burned down in 1795 the whole sum. 
was not paid. 

The same Conference directed that the book fund 
should pay to distressed preachers %666 6^ per an- 
num ; and to the bishops, for the benefit of district 
schools, $64 per annum. He further says : " It was 
supposed that the profits arising from our book bus- 
iness would amount to at least $2,500 per year. 
Such a profit on so little capital, and with' so small a 
membership, indicates that Mr. Dickins must have 
been a very skillful agent. In 1796 an order was 

Church Institutions. 243 

given for the publication of a " Methodist Maga- 
zine," which appeared in 1797, and was continued 
until the death of Mr. Dickins, in 1798, and was 
then discontinued. A rule was adopted at that 
General Conference, that "The proceeds of sales 
of our books, after debts are paid and a sufficient 
capital is provided for carrying on the business," 
should be regularly paid into the Chartered Fund. 

In September, 1798, Mr. Dickins died of yellow 
fever, which then prevailed as a terrible epidemic. 
His friends had urged him to leave the city, but he 
felt it to be his duty to remain among the suffering 
and dying. Ezekiel Cooper was appointed to fill the 
vacancy. In his report, made to General Conference 
in 1808, when he resigned the agency, he says: 
"When I engaged in this Concern, in 1799, the whole 
amount of clear capital stock, including debts and 
all manner of property, was not worth more than 
four thousand dollars, and I had not a single dollar 
of cash in hand belonging to the Concern to carry 
on the work, or to procure materials, or to pay a 
single demand against the Concern, which at that 
time was near three thousand dollars. ... At the 
General Conference of 1804 the Concern had so far 
pi'i^pcrcd that I could show a capital of about 
t\vcnt\--sc\cn thousand dollars." In 1804, for some 
cause, the book business was removed to the city of 
N\\v V(jrk, Mr. Cooper being retained in charge. 

244 -A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

As tTie General Conference of 1804 had limited 
the ministerial term to two years, a resolution was 
adopted that the editor and general book steward, 
and his assistant, should be exceptions. In 1808 
Mr. Cooper was succeeded by Mr. Wilson, the capi- 
tal then being forty-five thousand dollars. 

By some means the Concern in 1816 became con- 
siderably embarrassed, though the capital was re- 
ported to be about eighty thousand dollars. Joshua 
Soule and Thomas Mason were elected agents. 
The Conference directed the publication of a peri- 
odical to be called the " Methodist Missionary Mag- 
azine." They also passed a resolution declaring it 
" improper for the agents of the Book Concern to 
purclflase or to sell grammars, or any other school 

The agents suggested the propriety of purchasing 
real estate, and of opening a printing-office ; but the 
Conference preferred to postpone the matter until 
the following General Conference. In 1818 the 
" Methodist Magazine " was commenced. Why the 
word "missionary" was dropped from its title we 
do not know. It has been continued to the present 
time, though after the establishment of the " Advo- 
cate " it was changed to a " Quarterly." 

For many years the business was conducted on 
the plan of issuing books on commission. They 
weje sent to the presiding elders and preachers, who 

Church Institutions. 243 

made a report of sales, and received a commission 
for their labor. It was found, however, that this 
plan worked badly. Sometimes sales were neglected, 
and the books were injured. The capital of the 
Concern was scattered over the country, and collec- 
tions were not promptly made. 

Dr. Bangs, who was elected agent in 1820, in- 
fused more energy into the business by publishing 
Benson's " Commentary," and also a revised edition 
of the hymn book. In 1822 the agents rented 
the basement of the Wesleyan Seminary, in Crosby- 
street, and began binding their publications. This 
was the first attempt at performing mechanical 
labor under the superintendence of the agents. 
For nearly forty years, the books were printed and 
bound by contract, and were simply held on sale at 
the agency. Finding, however, the bindery to be a 
great convenience, a printing department was added. 

In 1824 Dr. Bangs was re-elected, with John Em- 
ory, afterward bishop, for his assistant. They im- 
mediate!}' purchased the seminary building, and in 
the following September commenced printing. From 
this period dates the rise of the extensive publish- 
iiiL,^ interests as they arc now arranged ; and it may 
be noticed that this was about the middle of the 
centennial period. On September 9, 1826, was is- 
sued the first number of the " Christian Advocate," 
the first weekly publication under the patronage of 

246 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

the Church. It had been preceded by " Zion's Her- 
ald," a small sheet started in Boston in 1823, and 
also by a small paper called the " Wesleyan Jour 
nal," in South Carolina. Both of these were soon 
merged in the " Advocate," which took the name 
of the "Advocate and Journal and Zion's Herald." 
But shortly afterward the publication of "Zion's 
Herald " was resumed in Boston. The " Advocate " 
was, from its beginning, under the management of 
Dr. Bangs, though edited until 1828 by Mr. Badger. 
At this time, to the title of " Methodist Magazine " 


was added " and Quarterly Review." 

As the business had rapidly enlarged, a lot of 
ground was purchased on Mulberry-street, where 
new and commodious buildings were erected, and 
where the manufacturing department is still located. 

The new building was completed in 1833, and the 
business rapidly increased; but on February 18, 
1836, the buildings, with the entire stock, were con- 
sumed by fire, the estimated loss being $250,000. 
Unfortunately, a previous severe fire had embar- 
rassed, and even thrown into bankruptcy, several of 
the insurance companies, so that but little insurance 
could be collected. Public sympathy was excited, 
and collections made amounting to $89,984 98, 
which, added to the insurance, value of ground, 
etc., left a capital of $281,650 'jj. 

At the General Conference of 1836 an effort was 

Church Institutions. 247 

made to remove the Book Concern either to Balti- 
more or Philadelphia. Liberal offers of ground for 
buildings were tendered in both cities, but after 
discussion the project failed. New and more suit- 
able buildings were then erected, and the busi- 
ness became larger and more prosperous than ever 


The separation of 1845 resulted in a litigation for 
part of the property. Under the" decree of the 
United States Court, 2. pro rata division was ordered 
with the Church, South. In the settlement made in 
accordance with the decree, the agents at New 
York and Cincinnati paid to the representatives of 
the Church South $270,000 in cash, and also trans- 
ferred to them the presses and papers belonging to 
the Concern in the South, and all the debts due and 
payable in the bounds of the Southern Conferences. 
Notwithstanding these large payments, under the 
skillful management of the agents the business pro- 
gressed without embarrassment, and was annually 
enlarged. The buildings in Mulberry-street were 
too contracted for the Increasing business, and 
measures were taken to secure a finer building on a 
■nore prominent street. Finally the site selected 
Ras that now occupied, on the corner of Broadway 
ind Eleventh-street, which was purchased jointly by 
the Book Concern and the Missionary Society. All 
ihe church offices were removed to this large and 

248 A Hundred Years of Methodism 

beautiftil edifice, where all the publications are kept 
on sale. 

Between 1868 and 1872 there were rumors of ir- 
regularities among some of the employes, and it 
was said that losses had occurred. A very earnest 
and somewhat painful discussion took place respect- 
ing the general management. The agents were 
divided in judgment, and the Book Committee was 
unable to agree as to the facts involved. Matters, 
however, were referred to the General Conference, 
and examined carefully by a large Committee, com- 
posed in part, of men eminent as well for business 
ability as for integrity. The conclusions arrived at 
were, that frauds had been " practiced in the bind- 
ery, by which the Book Concern has suffered loss, 
but in no other department of the Concern ; " that 
there had "been irregularities in the management 
of the business," but there were no "reasonable 
grounds to presume that any agent or assistant 
agent is, or has been, implicated or interested in 
any frauds." This report was adopted without de- 
bate, with great unanimity, and thus a discussion 
which had excited much painful feeling and some 
bitter controversy was brought to a close. 

At the Conference of 1872 the manner of consti- 
tuting the Book Committee was changed, and skill- 
ful laymen were appointed as auditing committees, 
A layman was also appointed for the first time 

Church Institutions. 249 

assistant agent at New York. The quadrennium 
now closing has been, notwithstanding the severe 
financial distress, continually prosperous, and the 
issues of the press are annually multiplying. 

Owing to the great difficulty in transportation in 
early times, a depository was greatly needed in the 
West. Contributions were made for the erection 
of a building in Cincinnati, and the depository was 
established, which subsequently was enlarged into 
a publishing house. Dr. Martin Ruter was elected 
agent in 1820, which office he filled until 1828. He 
was succeeded by Charles Holliday, who occupied 
the position until 1836. In 1832 Dr. J. F. Wright 
was elected assistant agent, and from 1836 to 1844 
he was the principal agent, with Rev. L. Sworm- 
stedt assistant. From 1844 to i860 L. Swormstedt 
was principal agent. 

From the beginning, the business of these houses 
has steadily increased. As we have already seen, 
the printing houses, with the papers in the Southern 
territory, the debts due from the ministers there, 
and $270,000 in cash, being more than one third of 
the property, was given to the South in the settle- 
ment made under the order of the court. Notwith- 
standing this loss the capital has increased, until it 
now amounts at New York to $1,013,687 29, and at 
Cincinnati to $503,285 73. Not only has this cap- 
ital been accumulated, but a large amount has been 

250 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

consumed in meeting the deficiencies of delegates 
of General Conferences, for the establishment of 
new papers in different sections of the country, and 
for the salaries and traveling expenses of the bishops, 
and the allowance made to the widows of bishops. 
During the last four years, however, these salaries 
have been paid, in part, by collections from the 

The value of the Book Concern is seen not only 
in its profits, and in the support it has given to the 
Church periodicals and Church agencies, but in its 
publication of standard theological works, which 
clearly and distinctly set forth the doctrines of the 
Church. It has been an educational agency of 
great ^ower, and thousands of youthful minds have 
been stirred by the earnest volumes which it has 
issued. To facilitate its business, depositories from 
time to time have been established in Boston, Pitts- 
burgh, Buffalo, Chicago, St. Louis, and San Francis- 
co ; and large bookstores have been opened in Phil- 
adelphia and Baltimore, under Church sanction, but 
not as the property of the publishing department. 

When we consider that this business has been 
transacted for the period of ninety years, through 
nearly ten thousand traveling preachers, many of 
whom were inexperienced, and some of whom wer^ 
employed by presiding elders without full knowl- 
edge of their habits, it is astonishing that the losses 

church Institutions. 2$ I 

should have been so small, and that it should have 
been blessed with such prosperity. It has never 
suffered, during all that period, from a defaulting 
agent, and, with a single exception, it has not been 
shown that any fraud has been practiced by an em- 
ployi. It has also competed with benevolent or- 
ganizations which have endeavored to furnish their 
books at cost, or nearly so, such as the " American 
Sunday-School Union," the "American Tract Soci- 
ety," and kindred associations. From an humble 
beginning, with the smallest possible means, it has 
grown to meet the wants of the Church, until it has 
become the largest rehgious publishing house in the 

For the sake of brevity the names and dates of 
the election of the agents and editors are given in 
connection with the election of other Church officers 
in an Appendix at the close of this volume. 


In its early work, Methodism devoted its energies 
so wholly to evangelical efforts, that for some time 
the opinion prevailed that it was indifferent, if not 
hostile, to education. This notion may have arisen 
partly from the fact, that in its rapidly spreading 
work it was obliged to employ earnest, devoted men, 
who had nr,t enjoyed high educational privileges. 
The opinion, however, was wholly erroneous. Meth- 

2^2 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


odism arose in Oxford University, the time-honored 
seat of learning in England. The young men to 
whom the epithet "Methodists" was first applied 
were scholars of a high rank, and i\Ir. Wesley had 
few superiors in the university. Though he went 
forth preaching the Gospel with great earnestness 
to the poor and to the outcast, he no sooner united 
the converted into Societies than he exerted himself 
for their elevation and for the education of their 
children. He encouraged the opening of schools 
connected with his earliest Churches, and the school 
at Kingswood was founded for the education of the 
children of the poor colliers who were brought to 
the knowledge of God under his ministrations. At 
his first Conference he proposed a school for labor- 
ers, but was obliged to defer the project for want of 
means. The Wesleyans of England, catching his 
spirit and following his example, have established 
schools of various grades for the education of their 
children, for the instruction of teachers, and for the 
preparation of ministers and missionaries. 

In the United States, scarcely were small Societies 
organized before Mr. Asbury turned his thoughts to 
procuring educational facilities. In the midst of the 
Revolutionary War, as soon as he was permitted to 
travel abroad, we find him, in 1 780, engaged with 
John Dickins in preparing a plan for a seminary, 
and even securing some subscriptions. The times, 

Church Institutions. 253 

however, .vere very unfavorable. The minds of the 
people were excited, and oftentimes alarmed ; the 
preachers were sometimes, as we have seen, arrested, 
and fined or imprisoned, and Mr. Asbury saw no 
proper opportunity for accomplishing his purpose. 
As soon, however, as measures were arranged for the 
organization of the Church, and before the meeting 
of the General Conference of 1784, he laid his plans 
before Dr. Coke, who not only approved of the 
seminary w^hich Mr. Asbury desired, but preferred 
that it should be a college. They commenced re- 
ceiving subscriptions, and by the time the Confer- 
ence assembled they reported one thousand pounds. 
The Conference approved the plan, and named the 
institution " Cokesbury College." It was located in 
Abington, eighteen miles north of Baltimore, on the 
road leading to Philadelphia, and occupied a site 
which commanded a view, as Dr. Coke supposed, of 
fifty miles down the bay. The corner-stone of the 
building was laid on the fifth of June, 1785, and the 
institution was opened September 17, 1787. The 
edifice was built of brick, and was one hundred 
and ci-hty feet long by forty feet wide, and three 
stories high. Ik'fore the building was finished, a 
ftw scholars wore gathered and a teacher provided. 
Bi^ Coke and Asbury issued an appeal in its 
behalf, stating that they had three objects in its 
erection: first, to provide for the education of the 

254 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

sons of ministers ; secondly, for the education and 
support of poor orphans ; and lastly, but not least, 
the establishment " of a seminary for the children 
of our friends, where learning and religion may go 
hand in hand." 

Thus the commencement of the first educational 
institution connected with Methodism in America 
dates from 1785, ten years after the beginning of 
our centennial period. At that time all the lead- 
ing denominations had already colleges or semina- 
ries in active operation. The Congregationalists, 
having established their Church immediately on their 
landing in 1620, founded Harvard University in 1636. 
This was followed by Yale in 1700, and Dartmouth 
in 1^69, being monuments of their zeal and enter- 
prise. The members of the Church of England had 
founded the College of William and Mary, in Vir- 
ginia, in 1692. In 1749 the University of Pennsyl- 
vania was founded in Philadelphia, and in 1754, 
King's College, now Columbia, was commenced in 
New York. The Presbyterians, in 1746, opened 
Princeton College in New Jersey; and in 1784, the 
Baptists founded in Rhode Island an institution 
which became the Brown University. The Epis- 
copalians also opened Hampden- Sydney College 
in 1776, incipient arrangements having been made 
before. The Dutch Reformed Church controlled 
Rutgers' College, founded in New Brunswick, N. J , 

Church Institutions, 255 

in 1770. Several of these institutions were either 
founded or supported by public money, received 
from time to time from the State; but being in the 
hands of close corporations, the majority of which 
were members of the several Churches, they suc- 
ceeded in controUing their interests, and thus di- 
verting the public moneys to their own special 


At this day it is almost impossible to conceive 
what bigotry and intolerance were manifested in 
these institutions, and how difficult it was for stu- 
dents of other religious opinions to find in them a 
comfortable home. In Connecticut, during the 
controversy between the Old Lights and the New 
Lights, two students whose parents attended the 
New Light Church were expelled from Yale College 
because, during their vacation, and at the home of 
their parents, they attended the Church of which 
their parents were members. At a far more recent 
period the writer was well acquainted with a young 
man who, some forty years ago, entered a college to 
prepare for missionary work in the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church. Though his Church associations and 
his object in entering the institution were well known, 
he was several times called before the Faculty and 
reproved for attending Methodist services on the 
Sabbath. The writer him.self, during his academic 
course, was almost daily assailed and reproached be- 

256 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

cause t>f his Church predilections, yet at that time 
the progress of Hberal sentiment had very consider- 
ably softened the former prejudices. 

Under such circumstances, we cannot wonder that 
Mr. Asbury and the fathers of the Church were 
anxious to provide some institution for their youth. 
To raise money to build Cokesbury College and to 
meet its expenses, Bishop Asbury personally solicited 
subscriptions, and was for several years in charge 
of its finances. The Discipline of 1789 says : " The 
college will be under the presidency of the bishops 
of our Church for the time being, and is to be sup- 
ported by yearly collections throughout our circuits, 
and in endowments which our friends may think 
proptr to give and bequeath." 

Shortly after its commencement Mr. Wesley, at 
the request of Mr. Asbury, sent from England the 
Rev. Mr. Heath to be the principal. The discipline 
was unusually strict. The students were required to 
rise at five o'clock in the morning, and to be in bed 
at nine in the evening, without fail. They were 
directed to study seven hours a day, three hours 
being given for meals and recreation. The recrea- 
tions were gardening, walking, riding, and bathing, 
without doors, and a carpenter's, joiner's, cabinet 
maker's, or turner's business within doors. Three 
acres of ground were arranged for a garden, and a 
gardener was employed to overlook the students 

Church Institutions. 257 

when employed in that recreation, and all play and 
amusements were prohibited. 

In 1789 an extraordinary religious work occuired 
among the pupils. In 1792 more than seventy stu- 
dents were within its walls, and the course embraced 
not only ancient languages, but also French and 
German. Abingdon became a favorite resort, and 
the Baltimore Conference frequently held its sessions 
at Cokesbury College to conclude its business. It 
was accomplishing a great work for the Church, but 
in the midst of prosperity, it was destroyed by fire 
December 7, 1795, at a loss of about $30,000. The 
fire was supposed to have been the work of an incen- 
diary, and the governor of the State offered a reward 
of $1,000, but the perpetrator was never discovered. 
A previous attempt had been made to fire the build- 
ing, but it was discovered and frustrated. 

Bishop Asbury had been greatly burdened by its 
financial interests and its general management, and 
when he heard of its destruction he wrote : " If any 
man should give me ;^ 10,000 per year to do and 
suffer again what I have done for that house I 
would not do it. The Lord called not Mr. White- 
field nor the Methodists to build colleges. I wish 
only schools: Dr. Coke wanted a college. I feel 
distressed at the loss of the library." 

Nevertheless the college had some warm friends 

in Baltimore, who consulted together and resolved 

258 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

to rebuild. Finding, however, that a large building 
in the city could be purchased at a low rate, it was 
determined to purchase that property and remove 
the institution to Baltimore. The property was 
procured, and the institution commenced with fine 
prospects. In about a year it caught fire from an 
adjacent building and was consumed. Discouraged 
and dispirited, both Bishop Asbury and Dr. Coke 
agreed that it was not in accordance with the will 
of God that they should devote their energies and 
the means of the Church to this enterprise. 

With the founding of the college, the desire for 
educational advantages had spread to different parts 
of the Church. In Georgia, the bishops had re- 
ceived*the offer of three hundred acres of land for 
the purpose of establishing a school, which Dr. 
Coke was anxious to name "Wesley College," but 
which elsewhere is spoken of as Wesley and White- 
field School. Incipient measures were also taken 
to secure a large tract of land, of near five thousand 
acres, in Kentucky, to found a school in the West, 
but after the destruction of the college in Baltimoie 
further effort seems to have been abandoned. 

While Bishop Asbury had not at first favored the 
establishment of a college, he was very anxious for 
academies and district schools. In 1792 he wrote 
to Dr. Coke, who was then in England : " If it 
were not for the superstition of some, and the 

Church Institutions. 259 

pride and ignorance of others, I am of the opin- 
ion I could make provision by collections, profits 
on the books, and donations in lands, to take two 
thousand children under the best plan of educa- 
tion ever known in this country. The Lord be- 
gins to smile on our Kingswood school. One 
promising young man has gone forth, another is 
ready, and several have been under awakenings. 
None so healthy and orderly as our children, and 
some promise great talents. The obstinate and ig- 
norant oppose, while the judicious in Church and 
State admire and applaud." 

From 1796 until 1 817 we find no notice of educa- 
tional movements. In the latter year. Dr. Samuel 
Jennings, assisted by others, opened in Baltimore 
an institution called " Asbury College," but being 
without endowment it soon ceased to exist. In 
1 8 19 an academy was opened in New Market, New 
Hampshire, under the control of the New England 
Conference, which was subsequently removed to 
Wilbraham, and has been one of the most efficient 
and popular seminaries in the land. In the same 
year an institution called the Wesleyan Seminary 
was commenced in New York, and buildings were 
secured on Crosby-street. Subsequently they were 
purchased by the Book Concern. The General Con- 
ference of 1820 approved of these institutions, and 
advised all the Annual Conferences to establish 

26o A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

seminaries and colleges, and the bishops were au- 
thorized to make necessary appointments of teach- 
ers from among the preachers. The seminary in 
New York was subsequently removed to White 
Plains, but the change did not secure it the ex- 
pected success. 

In 1823 Augusta College, in Kentucky, was estab- 
lished, under the presidency of Rev. J. P. Finley, 
and in it Dr. Durbin and Dr. Tomlinson were subse- 
quently professors. In 1826 Dr. Ruter accepted the 
presidency. For many years it accomplished great 
good in the Church. A number of prominent min- 
isters in Ohio and Kentucky were educated within 
its walls. Bishop Foster, Professor Miley, of Drew 
Seminary, and other distinguished ministers, were 
among its students. In 1844 Dr. Bascom attempt- 
ed to merge it into the Transylvania University of 
Lexington, but the latter project failed ; and though, 
after the division of the Church, Augusta College 
was resuscitated, yet it was so greatly crippled that 
it soon ceased to exist. 

In 1825 the Pittsburgh Conference, desiring to es- 
tablish a college, received the offer of an academy 
in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and shortly after it 
was opened under the title of " Madison College." 
Dr., afterward Bishop, Bascom was president ; Dr. 
Charles Elliott and J. H. Field were professors. As 
there was no endowment, and the tuition fees were 

Church Institutions. 261 

not sufficient to meet expenses, there was a constant 

call for aid. 

In 1830 a building in Middletown, Connecticut, 
which was owned by a literary institution, was of- 
fered to the New England Conference on condition 
of its raising $40,000 for endowment. The offer 
was accepted, and Dr. Wilbur Fisk, who had charge 
of Wilbraham Academy, was elected president. 
Thus the " Wesleyan University " was commenced, 
under the patronage of the New York and New 
England Conferences. This is the oldest collegiate 
institution, now in existence, in our Church. In its 
halls many of the most talented ministers have been 
educated. Other of its students have become pro- 
fessors and presidents of colleges, and others have 
been prominent in the professional and business 
walks of life. 

In 1833 Alleghany College, which had been estab- 
lished at Meadville, Pennsylvania, was tendered to 
the Pittsburgh Conference, and the institution was 
removed from Uniontown to that place. In that 
preparatory period, a number of active young minis- 
ters received their education in its halls, and were 
prepared for more extensive usefulness. 

In the same }ear the trustees of Dickinson Col- 
le;^e at Carlisle, Penns\dvania, which had been es- 
tablished in 1783, offered the institution to the Bal- 
timore and Philadelphia Conferences if they would 

262 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

take it under their patronage. The offer was ac- 
cepted, and the institution was opened under favor- 
able -auspices. Dr. Durbin was its first president, 
and he associated with himself a number of the 
most brilliant scholars of our Church. 

From these institutions educated young men 
went forth to teach elsewhere, and the spirit of ed- 
ucation extended rapidly into all the Conferences. 
In various parts of the West institutions were or- 
ganized which have exerted a wide-spread influence 
up to the present time. Their names and date of 
organization, and the leading facts connected with 
them, will be found in the following tables, presented 
in the report of the Board of Education to the last 
General* Conference. Some changes have occurred 
since that time : a few seminaries have been discon- 
tinued, but probably as many others have been 
opened. The exhibit shows the rapid advance 
which the cause has made, and is a triumphant an- 
swer to the declaration of our enemies, that Meth- 
odism does not favor education. 


In 1839, ^^^ centenary year of Wesleyan Meth- 
odism, the subject of establishing a biblical school 
in New England was widely discussed, and incipient 
measures were taken for such an organization. 
Some two or three years afterward a biblical de- 

Church Institutions. 263 

partment was organized in Newbury Seminary. A 
board of education, which had been appointed, 
thought it best to transfer the small amount of funds 
collected to the Wesleyan University, with a pros- 
pect of the organization of a theological department 
in that institution. Its funds, however, did not per- 
mit an enlargement of its Faculty, and attention was 
again called to the necessity of a separate organiza- 
tion. In 1847 I^^v. Dr. Dempster, who had been 
elected for the purpose, opened in Concord, New 
Hampshire, a theological school. For a number of 
years it struggled with many difficulties, and was re- 
garded by a large part of the Church as a measure 
of doubtful propriety. As the students went forth 
into the various Conferences its value was demon- 
strated, and the desire for ministerial education con- 
tinued to increase. 

A lady in Chicago, Mrs. Garrett, donated a large 
property to found a theological school at Evanston, 
and Dr. Dempster, having left Concord, opened the 
"(janctt Biblical Institute." The Trustees and Fac- 
ulty memorialized the General Conference of 1856 
to take it under its supervision, as one of its provis- 
ions was, that professors could only be elected with 
the approval of the bishops. The matter was re- 
ferred to a committee. Their report was adopted, 
and the General Conference gave its approval to the 
institutions both at Concord and at Evanston. In 

264 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

1866 a ferge building was erected, in great part by 
the offerings of the women of the Church, with 
rooms fitted up for bibHcal students, and named 
" Heck Hall," as a memorial of that " elect lady," 
who has sometimes been called the mother of Amer. 
lean Methodism. 

In the same year Daniel Drew, of New York, 
subscribed $500,000 for the estabhshment of a the- 
ological seminary. The site was selected at Madi- 
son, New Jersey. A large building on the premises 
was refitted ; other buildings were erected, both for 
the students and for the residence of professors. 
In the purchase of the ground, the fitting up of 
these buildings, and the purchase of a library, he 
expended over $270,000. He continued to give to 
the institution the interest of $250,000 to support 
its Faculty, until 1876, when unexpected financial 
embarrassments of its generous patron deprived the 
institution of its expected endowment. 

In 1867 the Biblical Seminary at Concord was re- 
moved to Boston ; its means were greatly enlarged, 
and since that time it has become a department in 
the Boston University. 

These three institutions are accomplishing a work 
of great value to the Church. In each of them 
about one hundred students are receiving instruc- 
tion, and are annually aiding to elevate the minis- 
terial standard in the Conferences. 

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266 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

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Church Institutions. 269 


In 1796 the General Conference organized the 
Chartered Fund, appointing for it a Board of 
Trustees, which was subsequently chartered by the 
Legislature of Pennsylvania. Its object was to sup- 
plement the salaries of ministers, and to afford some 
support for the worn-out preachers, their widows 
and orphans. Prior to that time an effort had been 
made to establish a Preachers' Fund, by requiring 
every preacher, when admitted, to pay $2 dj — then 
£\ American currency, and to contribute annually 
$2 ; the money to be lodged in the hands of treas- 
urers, and report to be made at each Conference. 
From this fund provision was to be made, first, for 
the worn-out preachers and their widows and chil- 
dren. The allowance for the worn-out preachers 
was to be, " if he wants it, $64 ; " and every widow 
and child, " if wanted, $53 33 ; " but none should be 
entitled to any thing who had not paid $6 dj, nor 
any one who had neglected to pay his subscription 
for three years, unless sent out of the United States. 

This organization was on the principle of a mut- 
ual aid society, and continued until 1796, when it 
was merged into the "Chartered Fund" to which 
we have alluded. Annual subscriptions were, how-^ 
ever, continued a few years longer to meet extraor- 
dinary cases. The anxiety for such a fund grew 

270 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

out of the fact, that nearly all of the married preach- 
ers were compelled to locate in order to support 
their families. An appeal was issued, in behalf of 
this fund, in which we find the following paragraph : 
** It is to be lamented, if possible with tears of 
blood, that we have lost scores of our most able 
married ministers ; men who, like good household- 
ers, could, upon all occasions, bring things new and 
old out of their treasuries, but were obliged to re- 
tire from the general work because they saw noth- 
ing before them for their wives and children, if they 
continued itinerants, but misery and ruin." The 
number of locations which we find in the annual 
Minutes fully sustains this view. 

The support allowed to the early preachers was, 
indeed, exceedingly meager. The membership was 
generally poor, and, as the ministers were unmar- 
ried men, who traveled from place to place, living 
among the people, they were able to subsist on 
small contributions. In 1774 we find an enact- 
ment, that each preacher should have $64 a year 
and traveling expenses. Indeed, the earliest preach- 
ers did not receive this amount. Captain Webb, 
who founded many of the Societies, and who, more 
than any other person, gave early form to American 
Methodism, supported himself, besides contributing 
to the erection of church edifices. Embury and 
Strawbridge were married men, but were local 

Church Institutions. 271 

l^eachers, the one being a carpenter the other a 
farmer, and they partly supported themselves by 
their work. Asbury, Boardman, Pilmoor, Rankins, 
Williams, and Shadford, were single men. Williams 
subsequently married and located ; and of him it 
was said, he was "the first American Methodist 
preacher that published a book, got married, located, 
and died." 

In 1778 paper money had depreciated, and the 
salary was raised to ;^32 per year, which was nearly 
equivalent to $80. In 1782, to equalize the support 
of ministers, a resolution was adopted that " all the 
gifts received by the preachers, whether in money 
or clothing, shall be brought to the quarterly meet- 
ing, and valued by the preachers and stewards, and 
the preacher who has received the gifts shall be 
considered as having received so much of his quar- 
terage, and if he is still deficient, he shall carry the 
account of such deficiency to the next Conference, 
that, if possible, he may have it made up out of the 
profits arising out of the sale of books and the an- 
nual collections." 

In 1780 the first notice occurs of the wives of 
preachers, the fourteenth question reading, " What 
provision shall be made for the wives of married 
preachers ? " Answer. " They shall receive an equiv- 
alent with their husbands in quarterage if they stand 
in need." In 1783 we find the answer to the ques- 

272 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

tion; *' How many preachers' wives are to be pro- 
vided for is " eleven : " and that the sum needed 
for their support is estimated at £26^. To raise 
this sum it was said, " Let the preachers make a 
small collection in all the circuits." Their purpose 
was to equalize the support, so that all the circuits 
should combine in sustaining the families. In 1784 
thirteen preachers are reported as married, and ;^302 
were apportioned to the different charges. A collec- 
lection was also ordered to be taken up in every 
charge, prior to Conference, to meet deficiencies. 
This was called " the Conference Collection." A 
year after the organization of the Church this col- 
lection amounted to ;^300, which was applied in 
making up the yearly deficiencies, and in sending 
out two missionaries. 

In 1785 the thirty-seventh question reads, "What 
shall be the regular annual salary of the elders, dea- 
cons, and helpers ? " to which answer is made, " six- 
ty-four dollars and no more, and for each preacher's 
wife sixty-four dollars ; and for each preacher's child, 
if under the age of six years, there shall be allowed 
sixteen dollars ; and for each child over the age of 
six and under the age of eleven years, twenty- 
one dollars and thirty-three cents." This rule, in 
reference to children, created dissatisfaction, and 
the Conference of 1787 resolved that no provision 
should be made in future " for the children of ouf 

Church Institutions. 2'ji 

marrieJ preachers." And this appears to have been 
the practice of the Church until 1800. 

In those early days they were strict, even beyond 
propriety, in reference to all financial matters. One 
of their rules reads : " We will on no account what- 
ever suffer any deacon or elder among us to receive 
a fee or present for administering the ordinances of 
marriage, baptism, or the burial of the dead ; freely 
we receive, and freely we give." 

Tt is probable that this rule was adopted to pre- 
vent jealousies among the ministers, as but few were 
at first elected to orders. A few years subsequently 
it was agreed that a present might be received for the 
marriage ceremony, but it must be reported to the 
stewards of the circuit, to be applied as quarterage. 
This rule continued in force until 1800; after which 
time, preachers were not required to make such 

At this day it seems surprising how so great a 
work could have been sustained on such small 
means. Brave and self-denying were the men who 
laid the firm foundations of the edifice of Method- 
ism. The Chartered Fund, to which we have al- 
luded, never became a favorite with the people. A 
few persons made contributions, and a few legacies 
swelled the amount. The capital at present is about 
forty thousand dollars. The general sentiment of 
the Church was, that they who preach the Gospel 

274 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

should live by the Gospel. And it vas believed 
that the current expenses should be niet by annual 
contributions. Until i860 the salarj/ of a preacher 
was fixed at one hundred dollars, ard one hundred 
dollars for his wife, and a small allowance was made 
to the children, together with an amount to be esti- 
mated by the circuits or station for house-rent and 
family expenses. At that time the rule for specific 
allowances was removed from the Discipline; and 
the stations and circuits have, from time to time, 
determined what they are willing to give for minis- 
terial support. This creates an inequality in the 
charges, from which British Methodism is compar- 
atively free, and greatly adds to the embarrassment 
of arranging the appointments. In too many cases 
the estimate made is not fully met ; but even then 
the preacher has no claim upon the property of the 
Church as a compensation for his services. 


From its commencement Methodism was essen- 
tially missionary. In England the first preachers in- 
troduced the Gospel into new places, without any 
support, except such aid as Mr. Wesley could occa- 
sionally furnish them. Many of these self-denying 
and heroic men traveled on foot the circuits which 
were assigned them, while they endured privations 
sufificient to discourage the stoutest heart. When 

Church Institutions. 275 

the first preachers were sent to America, in 1769, 
the Conference gave a collection of ^50 as a present 
to the Church in New York, toward their indebted- 
ness, and j^20 to help pay the passage of the mis- 
sionaries. Collections were also taken up by them 
in London and other places. In 1785, at the organ- 
ization of the Church, two ministers were sent to 
Nova Scotia, and a collection was taken to aid them, 
which amounted to £^T. 

In 1786 Dr. Coke issued an address to the English 
public proposing an annual subscription for missions 
to the islands adjacent to Great Britain, as also to 
Nova Scotia and the West Indies. Allusion is also 
made to a mission designed for Asia, which was for 
a time postponed. Mr. Wesley indorsed the plan, 
recommending it to the Christian public. Dr. Coke 
sailed, in September of that year, from England, 
with missionaries who commenced their work in the 
West Indies; and in 1787 there appeared in Mr. 
Wesley's Minutes, " Missions established by the 
Methodist Society." 

At Mr. Wesley's last Conference in 1790, a com- 
mittee of nine, of which Dr. Coke was chairman, 
was appointed to take charge of mission interests ; 
being thus in reality a board of managers for a mis- 
sionary society. Collections were taken up in many 
circuits, and in 1793 the Conference ordered a col- 
lection to be taken in every chr.rge. As early ar. 

276 A Hundred Years or Methodism. 

1787 Dr. Coke published his receipts and disburse^ 
ments. The amount for that year was ^1,167. At 
the General Conference of 1796, Dr. Coke proposed, 
among his other duties, " to visit the West Indies 
and France, when there is an opening and I can be 

In 1 791 the British Methodists had already begun 
some evangelical labors in France, being in advance 
in missionary work of nearly all other Churches. 
The Baptist Missionary Society was established in 
1792, the London Missionary Society in 1795, and 
the Glasgow Missionary Society in 1796; though 
the movement was opposed by many of the 
Churches. In 1789, when Mr. Carey proposed, for 
cohsideration by the Baptist ministers, the sending 
of the Gospel to the heathen, the venerable divine 
who presided at the meeting sprung to his feet, de- 
nounced the proposition, and said: "Young man, 
sit down! When God pleases to convert the 
heathen, he will do it without your aid or mine." 
When, in 1796, a proposition was made in the Gen- 
eral Assembly of the Church of Scotland to estab- 
lish a foreign mission, it was urged that it was " not 
only an unnatural, but a revolutionary design." In 
this view such men as Doctors Erskine, Hill, and 
others concurred, and they recommended that the 
Assembly should express its "most serious disap- 
prabation, and its immediate and most decisive op- 

Church Institutions. 2TJ 

position." Yet these Churches soon changed their 
opinions, and have been among the most active sup- 
porters of the missionary cause. 

In America the whole plan of the Methodistic 
work was essentially missionary. The preachers fol- 
lowed the swelling tide of population over hill and 
valley, across mountain and plain, and as really per- 
formed missionary labor as though they had been 
sent forth by a missionary society. Dr. Coke was 
so full of missionary spirit that, having crossed the 
Atlantic sixteen times in visiting America and the 
West Indies, he projected, and in his old age led, a 
missionary expedition to the East Indies ; dying on 
his passage before his eyes beheld the land for which 
his heart had yearned. 

The difficulty of securing assistance for the preach- 
ers on the frontier, led Doctors Bangs, Clark, Soule, 
and others to earnest effort. A committee was ap- 
pointed to prepare a constitution for a society, 
which was adopted on the 5th of April, 1819, Dr. 
Bangs presiding, and Joshua Soule appealing to the 
people for subscriptions. The General Conference 
of 1820 sanctioned the plan, and the Missionary So- 
ciety became an integral part of the Church. For 
sixteen years from that time Dr. Bangs acted as sec- 
retar>', speaking and traveling without salary ; and in 
addition to his other regular duties he was the au- 
thor of every annual report but one until 1841. 

?78 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


One of the circumstances which led to the forma- 
tion of this society was of a very singular character. 
A colored man, named Stewart, supposed to have 
been partly Indian, residing in Marietta, Ohio, felt 
a deep impression that he must go somewhere in a 
north-western direction. The impression also rested 
upon his mind that he must " preach to a man and 
woman " who had appeared to him, and who, he 
thought, had said to him in the vision, " You must 
declare my counsel faithfully." In the year 1 8 14 he 
left Marietta with but a small outfit, and taking his 
Bible with him, finally reached Upper Sandusky 
ArMving at this place, he saw what appeared to hin. 
the very *' man and woman " whom he saw in vision 
Being a sweet singer he attracted the attention of 
the Indians, gradually won their confidence, and 
several of them were converted. In three years 
after an interesting revival commenced under his 
labors, and many were converted. After a short 
absence he returned again, and continued to labor 
among them. Applying for assistance, a minister 
from Mount Vernon, Ohio, went to his aid, and in 
1 8 19 the mission was adopted by the Ohio Annu- 
al Conference. Subsequently such men as Rev. 
Messrs. Finley, Gilruth, and Dr. Elliot were con- 
nected with the mission, which for a time had great 

Church Institutions. 279 

prosperity. The report of this success did much to 
stimulate the friends of the missionary cause. Mis- 
sions were soon after commenced in Upper Canada 
and an^ong the Creek Indians in Alabama and Geor- 
gia, and were gradually established among other 
tribes. One of the most promising of these, which 
was greatly injured by the division of the Church in 
1845, was among the Cherokees. 


In 1 83 1 it was proposed to establish a mission in 
the colony of Liberia, in West Africa, for the benefit 
of the people of color who had emigrated from this 
country. Melville B. Cox, of New England, offered 
himself, and was appointed as a missionary. On ar- 
riving in Africa his labors were attended with more 
than ordinary success, but in a few months, pros- 
trated by the fever, he passed away. Reinforce- 
ments were sent in the year 1834, among whom the 
Rev. John Seys was one of the most efficient. He 
was accompanied by the Rev. Francis Burns, then 
a local preacher, who was subsequently elected 
bishop. A number of missionary stations were es- 
tablished, some native Africans converted, and sev- 
eral schools were opened. An academy was estab- 
lished at Monrovia, of which Mr. Burton, a graduate 
of Alleghany College, was appointed principal. In 
a short time he too was cut off. An Annual Con- 

2So A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ference was subsequently organized, which was vis- 
ited by Bisht)p Scott in 1852. 

The mission in Africa has not reahzed the full 
expectation of its friends. The colonists, being 
chiefly liberated slaves, have not shown that inde- 
pendence and energy essential to rapid growth. 
Instead of pushing out into the interior, the preach- 
ers have confined their efforts principally to the col- 
ony, and consequently not much has yet been done 
for the regeneration of Africa. 


In 1833 there came a remarkable call from the 
Flat Head Indians of Oregon. By some means 
they had heard that the white men had a book 
which told'about the Great Spirit and another world. 
They sent a delegation across the Rocky Mountains 
to find the book, and to ask for a teacher. Arriving 
at St. Louis they made known their wants, and the 
intelligence was published throughout the country. 
Dr. Fisk issued an earnest appeal in their behalf, 
and three young men, Joshua and Daniel Lee, and 
Cyrus Shepherd, volunteered for this work. They 
arrived at Fort Vancouver in September, 1834, and 
immediately commenced their labors. Other mis- 
sionaries and mechanics followed in a few years, 
and the foundation of the Church was laid in Ore- 
gon. This appeal stirred the heart of the Church, 

Church Institutions. 28 1 

and increased the missionary contributions. In 1833 
the amount of collections was $17,095 05; in 1834 
it had increased to $35,700 15, having more than 

There is something sad connected with the con- 
dition of the Indian population. Gradually they are 
melting away. They imitate the vices of the whites, 
without cultivating their virtues. Tribe after tribe 
is disappearing, and only a poor remnant remains. 
There are, it is true, some interesting missions 
among the Indians on the Pacific coast. That 
among the Walla-Walla tribe is conducted by one 
of the early members of the mission, Rev. Mr. Wil- 
bur, and has accomplished great results. Yet even 
the chief success of the mission to Oregon has been 
in laying broad and strong foundations for the grow- 
ing Church. 


In 1835 the condition of South America attracted 
considerable attention. Rev. F. C. Pitts was sent 
by the board to visit Rio Janeiro, Buenos Ayres, 
^lontevideo, etc. Having reported favorably. Dr. 
Dempster was appointed in 1836 to Buenos Ayres, 
and the Rev. Justin Spaulding to Rio Janeiro. The 
following year the Rev. Dr. Kidder was sent out to 
assist ?vlr. Spaulding, but, owing to the death of his 
wife, he returned in 1840. For many years, the work 
of the mission was confined chiefly to English speak- 

282 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ing persons, but more recently the work has extended 
among the Spanish population, and under the man- 
agement of Brothers Jackson, Wood, and others, a 
very favorable work is reported, especially in Mon- 
tevideo, and in the interior of Uruguay. 


At the General Conference of 1836 it was judged 
best to appoint a missionary secretary, who should 
superintend this department of Church work. The 
mission field was constantly widening, and the 
collections were increasing in amount. Dr. Bangs, 
who had previously devoted himself to their inter- 
ests, in addition to his other work, was at once chosen 
as the corresponding secretary, and he entered with 
great zeal and energy on his work. This Conference 
also directed the organization of the Liberia mission 
into an Annual Conference. 


About this time commenced a remarkable move- 
ment among the Germans, which has since assumed 
large proportions. We have already seen that the 
Rev. Mr. Otterbein assisted at the ordination of 
Bishop Asbury, and was his intimate friend. He 
established a form of Discipline very similar to that 
of the Methodists, and which resulted in the forma- 
tion of the Church of the United Brethren. After 

Church Institutims. 283 

that time a movement took place among the Ger 
mans, under the lead of a minister named Albright. 
An association was formed, which adopted the gen- 
eral Discipline of the Methodist Church. In some 
sections of the country they are known as the Al- 
bright Methodists, but they call themselves the 
"Evangelical Association." 

Many leading minds in the Church had felt the 
necessity of doing something for the German popu- 
lation, which was increasing in our midst. In 1835 
Professor Nast, a young man from Germany, a pro- 
fessor in one of the western colleges, became deeply 
awakened, and was converted. He at once felt F.n 
earnest desire to preach the Gospel to his country- 
men. He was received into the Ohio Conference, 
and appointed missionary to the Germans of Cin- 
cinnati. His success at first was very limited. He 
encountered many difficulties, and no little persecu- 
tion. In addition to his regular preaching he trans- 
lated a number of works into the German language; 
and in the beginning of 1839 ^ German paper, under 
his editorial supervision, was issued from the West- 
ern Book Concern. From that time the work has 
continued to enlarge jintil, at this time, there are six 
Annual Conferences in the United States. Nor has 
the influence of this work been confined to our 
country. While Dr. Nast was preaching in Cincin- 
nati, a young infidel physician, Dr. Jacoby, with 

284 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

several companions, attended service for the purpose 
of furnishing notes to an abusive German paper. 
Under the ministry of the word his conscience was 
awakened, and he shortly afterward was converted. 
After having preached in St. Louis he was sent to 
Germany, and was the successful founder of the 
Conference in that country. 


The next mission in order of time was estab- 
lished in China. For several years attention had 
been called to that populous kingdom, and in 1846 
the Missionary Board resolved to commence the 
work. In 1847 Rev. Moses C. White and Rev. J. 
D. CoUii^ sailed for China, arriving on the 14th of 
August. Foochow was selected as the center of the 
mission, and in October of the same year Rev. 
Henry Hickok and Rev. Robert S. Maclay, since 
superintendent, and now missionary to Japan, sailed 
as reinforcements. For several years they met with 
great difficulty, and toiled without seeing a conveil. 
Within a few years past, however, the work has 
been greatly favored of God and much enlarged. 
The missions have been visited by Bishops Thom- 
son, Kingsley, and Harris. A number of districts 
have been arranged, consisting of native presiding 
elders and preachers, and some of the work is self- 

Church Institutions. 285 


In 1856 a mission was established in India, under 
the superintendence of Rev. Dr. Butler. A year 
after his arrival the terrible Sepoy Rebellion occurred, 
and he, his family, and assistant missionaries, amid 
almost incredible hardships, barely escaped with 
their lives. Since that time the mission has regu- 
larly and constantly progressed, as will be seen from 
the statistics. It has prospered in every depart- 
ment. A number of schools have been established ; 
a college has been founded for the training of mis- 
sionaries; a printing-press is in operation; and ''ze- 
nana " work, under the care of active women, some 
of whom are physicians, is successfully conducted. 
An Annual Conference was organized in 1865 by 
Bishop Thomson, and more recently, under the la- 
bors of the Rev. William Taylor, a glorious revival 
commenced in Bombay, Calcutta, and at other 
points, both among the English speaking and native 


In 1857 ^ mission was also established in Bulga- 
ria. From various causes this has not been so suc- 
cessful in its results as some others. Dr. Long, for- 
merly superintendent of the mission, is now profess- 
or in Roberts College, near Constantinople. He is 
an eminent linguist, and has done a valuable work 

286 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

in helping to translate the Scriptures, and in issuing 
tracts in the Bulgarian language. The mission is at 
present under the superintendence of Rev. Mr. 


In 1845, under the labors of Mr. Hedstrom, a 
converted Norwegian, a mission was commenced in 
a bethel ship on the North River at New York. 
This was attended by many sailors and officers of 
vessels, and also by many emigrants. The latter 
generally passed westwardly to Wisconsin, Iowa, 
and Minnesota, and preachers were raised up who 
ministered to them. As the result there are Scan- 
dinavian districts in the Central Illinois, Wisconsin, 
and Minnesota Conferences, now embracing one 
hundred and twelve preachers, and five thousand 
two hundred and sixty-five church members. 

Some converted Scandinavians, returning to their 
own country, told the story of their conversion, and 
a religious interest was awakened. They earnestly 
pleaded that some minister might be sent to them, 
and in 1854 C. Willerup, a native Dane, was sent to 
open a mission in Norway. His labors were attended 
with success, and several Societies were established 
in the vicinity of Sarpsburg and Frederickshall. In 
1858 he opened a mission in Copenhagen, where a 
large church edifice was erected, and from which as 
a center these missions were prosecuted. Amid 

Church Institutions. 287 

many discouragements, arising from the laws of the 
country as well as from the strong opposition of 
the clergy, the work gradually spread. At present 
there are in Denmark seven missions, of which 
Carl Schou is superintendent, and a Sunday-school 
paper is regularly published. 

The mission in Norway gradually enlarged under 
the care of Rev. Mr. Willerup, then of Rev. Mr. 
Peterson, and at present of Rev. Mr. Hanson. There 
are now stationed twenty-one preachers, and there 
are about twenty-five hundred members. A church 
has been built in Christiana, the capital, and also 
respectable buildings in a number of the larger 
towns. A small Book Concern has been started, 
and a Sunday-school paper is regularly issued. 

The laws in Sweden being very severe, it was 
more difficult to find entrance for our missions; 
but in 1868, Victor Witting, a native Swede, and a 
successful minister, was sent to Gottenburg. From 
this place, as a center, the missionary work has 
spread until, at the last Conference, held in Wis- 
by, on the island of Gothland, the writer stationed 
some sixty ministers, who have enrolled some six 
thousand Church members. Notwithstanding the 
masses of them are poor, they have contributed 
liberally for the erection of churches. A small 
school has been established for the education of 
young men preparing for the ministry, and for such 

288 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

other young people as may desire education. A 
publishing house has been commenced in Gotten- 
burg, and a weekly Church paper is issued, as also 
one for the Sunday-schools. A number of books 
and tracts, including an abridgment of Clarke's 
Commentary, have been issued in the Swedish lan- 
guage, and Sunday-school hymns, with appropri- 
ate music, are now in general circulation in both 
Sweden and Norway. 


The overthrow of the temporal power of the pope, 
which followed the recent Franco-German war, 
opened the Papal States, with the city of Rome, 
to Protestant efforts. The Missionary Society sent 
Dr. L. M. Vernon, in 1871, to Italy, to examine the 
religious condition of the country, to select a propei 
center, and to pursue as he might be able evan 
gelistic work. While learning the language, and 
becoming acquainted with the wants of the country, 
the center of the mission was fixed at Bologna ; but 
as Paris is said to be France, so is Rome Italy, and it 
was deemed proper to make the city of Rome the 
center of this work. Under Dr. Vernon's care sev- 
eral missionary stations were opened, and several 
helpers were raised up, partly from the Protestant 
Churches which had been working in that land, and 
partly from converted Catholic priests. Bishop 

Church Institutions. 2S9 

Harris met these missionary workers in 1874, and in 
1875 the writer held an interesting session with 
them ;n the city of Milan. A site in a populous 
part of Rome was purchased, and a small but neat 
Gothic edifice has been erected, which was opened 
for public worship last Christmas. Several minis- 
ters of more than usual talent have been employed 
in the mission, and the indications are favorable for 
the progress of the work. There are now thirteen 
missionaries, with a membership of about five hun- 
dred. Thus it is that Methodism has at last estab- 
lished itself in the very center of the operations of 
the Roman Catholic Church, and, in common with 
other Protestant denominations, will henceforth 
contest with that Church the occupancy of all the 
Catholic countries of Europe. It is, perhaps, not 
generally known that the members and ministers 
of the Church of England have done very little for 
Protestantism in Europe. They have established 
small churches in the large cities, for the benefit of 
the resident English population, but they have 
wholly neglected the natives. Being themselves 
the Established Church of England, they have not 
been willing to come in contact with the Established 
Churches of other countries. It is with regret we 
add, that they have not only done nothing to 
counteract the spread of Popery in the countries of 

Europe, but the influence of some of their ministers 

2go A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

has been wsed in opposition to the evangeHstic 
efforts of other denominations. It cannot be a mat- 
ter of astonishment, that with the Papists vigorous- 
ly occupying ever}'- Protestant country, and with 
the leading Protestant Churches declining to occupy 
Papal countries, that Protestantism has been shorn 
in great measure of its strength. This tendency of 
the State Churches in Europe has thrown upon 
America the duty of leading the evangelistic efforts 
in those old countries. 

In these remarks I do not include the Independ- 
ents, the Wesleyans, the Baptists of England, or 
the Free Church of Scotland, all of which are wholly 
independent of the State Churches ; and yet they 
have beeti to some extent, perhaps unconsciously, 
influenced by the pressure of public opinion, by the 
conduct of the large Established Churches, and by 
the sentiments of their Governments. Thus, while 
Protestantism is the established religion in Prussia, 
England, Holland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, 
there has not been, so far as I know, a minister sent 
by any one of the State Churches to the native 
population of Catholic countries. 

Even in our own country the Protestant Episcopal 
Church, until very recently, has not made any effort 
in behalf of the Catholic population of the world. 
We record with pleasure the fact that it has now 
established its missions in Hayti, having elected a 

Church Institutions. 291 

bishop therefor, and that it has also commenced a 
mission in Mexico. It is to be hoped that the fine 
edifice erected by the contributions of the members 
of this Church for the Americans temporarily resi- 
dent in the city of Rome, may ere long be the cen- 
ter of religious services for the native population. 


Early in 1873 a mission was commenced in the 
city of Mexico under the superintendency of Dr. 
Butler, who had some years before returned from 
India. The duty of attempting the evangelization 
of our sister republic had long been felt by many 
earnest Christians ; but the unsettled state of the 
country, and the insecurity of life and property, 
together with the persecuting spirit of the Roman 
clergy, caused long-continued delay. At last, 
however, a wide, and, as we trust, an effectual door 
has been opened, and Protestant Churches have 
entered that land with hopeful prospects. A com- 
modious building, centrally located in the city of 
Mexico, has been secured for our mission, and opera- 
tions have been commenced not only in the capital, 
but in Puebla, Pachuca, Orizaba, and Guanajuato, 
and also in the district between Mexico and Puebla. 
There are now six ministers sent from this country, 
a press has been established, the Discipline, and 
tracts, and sermons have been printed, two orphan 

292 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

schools are in operation, a small institute has been 
opened for the education of young ministers, and 
a number of native helpers and colporteurs have 
been employed. The Mexican Government, with 
enlarged and liberal policy, has pledged its efforts to 
protect alike all denominations of Christians, and 
we have no doubt of its sincerity. As we write, 
however, a revolution is in progress, the result 
of which may exercise an important influence on 
our work. 

From this center it is to be hoped that the work 
will spread throughout not only Mexico, but also 
through the lands of Central America. It is the first 
attempt of Methodism to establish on a broad basis 
its institutions and services, and to introduce its lit- 
erature, into the Spanish language. For, though 
some efforts had been made by the Wesleyans in 
the Spanish dominions, and though missions in 
South America had been commenced some years 
previously, yet there had been no organized plans 
for the diffusion of our Church literature, nor had 
such agencies been established as are essential for 
the wide and rapid development of our work. 

Church Institutions. 



The folic «dng table exhibits the income of the Society from all sources since its 
•iganization : — 






Eeceiv^ed during the year 1820 

$828 04 

Eeceived during 

the year 1848 

$81,600 84 




2.328 76 


84.045 lo 




2,547 89 


" 1850 

104,579 54 




5,427 14 

May 1, 1851, to 

April 80, 1852 

152,482 48 




8,589 92 

" 1, 1852, " 

Dec. 31, 1853 

338,068 39 




4.140 16 

Jan. 1, 1854, 

" 1854 

226.412 05 




4,964 11 

" 1855, 

" 1855 

219.804 04 




6,812 49 

" 1856, 

" 1856 

238,441 92 



6,245 17 

" 1857, 

" 1857 

272,190 48 



14,176 11 

" 1858, 

" 1858 

258,224 61 



13,128 63 

» 1859, 

" 1859 

270.667 19 




9,950 57 

" 1860, 

" 1860 

262,722 77 




11,379 66 

" 1861, 

" 1861 

250,374 93 




17,097 05 

" 1862, 

" 1862 

272,523 71 



35,700 15 

" 1863, 

" 1863 

429,768 75 




30,492 21 

" 1864, 

" 1864 

558,993 26 




59,517 16 

" 3865, 

'• 1865 

642,740 67 



57,096 05 

" 1866, 

" 1866 

686,380 80 




96,087 86 

" 1867, 

" 1867 

613,020 96 




132,480 29 

" 1868, 

" 1868 

606,661 69 




136,410 87 

" 1869. 

" 1869 

634,704 11 




189,925 76 

" 1870, to 

Oct. 81, 1870 

602,951 27 




189,473 25 

Nov. 1, 1870, 

" 1871 

629,921 75 




144,770 SO 

" 1871, 

" 1872 

661,056 60 




146,578 78 

" 1872, 

" 1873 

680 836 64 




94,562 27 

" 1878, 

" 1874 

675,080 32 




89,528 26 

" 1874, 

" 1875 

662,485 89 




78,932 78 


FoEBiGN Missions. 



8. America.. 

E. China.... 

0. China.... 

N. Cliiiia.... 

Ger. ASwitz. 





giil k Mad- 

Bull! aria 



















3 1 .0 

m ja '' 











2,1 nn 



$16,174 00 


$030 00 








15,000 00 

, . 






'56,000 00 









*6,500 no 












*(i,300 00 







, , 





372,178 82 

, , 

• • > « 

44,741 00 





, ^ 





•69,161) 00 


2,139 00 





, , 





•48.000 00 



13,124 00 









*76,818 00 

15,934 00 










27,375 00 



208 00 










"♦■.43 06 



■"i3 66 








10,000 00 

, , 








2,000 00 






4 2| 






61,953 00 

4 .... 

2,605 00 







$778,001 82 

55l $13,352 

$99,394 00 



'Id thede cases Schools, Printing-offices, Hospitals, etc, may be included. 

294 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 






























New Mexico 

■ ■ ■ • • a 







. ■ ■ ■ • • 

Domestic Mtssioxs— Fokeign Populations. 



































• • 



$104 00 

3,466 72 

do ."I'l 
815 35 



206 ... 

73 K 1 Q?! 


American Indian 






•J',' 7 



36 $38,650 

$4,451 62 

Summary of Missionaeies. 

Foreign Missionaries and Assistants 690 

Native Preachers 281 

Missionaries and Assistants in Territories 15 

Missionaries to Foreign Populations in the United States 297 

Domestic Missionaries 2,378 

Tobi4 number of Missiunaries 8,661 


When Robert Raikes asked the question, " What 
shall be done for the neglected street children of 
Gloucester ? " it was a young Wesleyan woman who 
replied: " Let us teach them to read and take them 
to church." 

It was John Wesley who suggested and adopted 
the plan of voluntary teaching in the Sunday-schools 
of England. 

In the Methodist Episcopal Conference of 1784 
the following question and answer were inserted in 
the Discipline : " What shall be done for the rising 

Church Institutions. • 295 

generation? i. Where there are ten children, whose 
parents are in Society, meet them at least one hour 
every week." 

Bishop Asbury organized one of the earliest, if 
not the earliest, Sunday-school in America, at the 
house of Thomas Crenshaw, of Hanover County, 

Gradually the twofold idea of the Sunday-school 
as a department of the Church for the development 
of the children of the Church, and as a mission in- 
stitution for the training of the neglected children 
of the community, continued to advance and to get 
a firm hold upon the Church in this country. From 
this beginning the Methodist Episcopal Church has 
been a Sunday-school Church. Her present mag- 
nificent Sunday-school system is the legitimate out- 
growth of this early appreciation of the movement, 
and of her careful attention to its interests. 

The Sunday-School Union of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church was organized in 1827. It was re-organ- 
ized and recognized by the General Conference in 
1840. In 1844 the General Conference appointed 
" an editor especially and solely for the Sunday-school 

The first complete report of the Union was made 
in the spring of 1845, when the following figures 
were presented by the Rev. Daniel P. Kidder, the 
first editor, and really the founder of the present 

296 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Sunday-school department of the Church : Number 
of Sunday-schools, 5,005 ; number of officers and 
teachers, 47,252 ; number of scholars, 268,775. 

The following table shows the number of schools, 
officers and teachers, and scholars for the years 1850, 
i860, 1870, and 1875 : — 

1850. 1860. 1870. 1875. 

Schools 8,021 13,447 15440 19,287 

Officers and Teachers. . 84,840 148,632 181,230 207,182 

Scholars 429,589 807,988 1,197,674 1,406,168 

The Sunday-school work in our Church has been 
greatly advanced by the introduction of the Uni- 
form Lesson System. The present movement be- 
gan in Chicago in the year 1866, and has since then 
increased to a degree unparalleled in the history of 
religious movements. The Berean Series of Les- 
sons, which was but the development of the Chicago 
system, was commenced in 1870. In 1873 the Inter- 
national Lesson System, of which the Berean and 
the Chicago Series are but parts, was inaugurated. 
The Berean Lesson Leaf, w^hich is a four-paged 
monthly sheet containing the lessons, reached, in 
1 87 1, a monthly circulation of 500,000. The circu- 
lation in 1875 reached 1,200,500. The whole num- 
ber of Lesson Leaves circulated during the four 
years from January, 1872, to December, 1875, was 
38,097,502. The whole number of Berean Leai 
pages issued during the four years was 152,390,008. 
The Sunday-School Journal, which had in 1868 a 

Church Listitutions. 297 

circulation of 16,500, attained in 1875 a maximum 
circulation of 120,500. The entire publications of 
the Sunday-School Union of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church for the past four years aggregate more 
than 781,783,622 pages i8mo. 

The number of conversions reported in connection 
with the Sunday-School Union of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in 1845 was 2,603. In 1S75 there 
were reported 75,162 conversions, and for vhe four 
years closing in December, 1875, 280,865, an in- 
crease of 99,628 for the quadrennium over the pre- 
ceding quadrennium. The whole number of con- 
versions reported in connection with the Sunday- 
schools of the Methodist Episcopal Church for the 
past thirty years is 850,971. 

It is just to say that the remarkable expansion 
and improvement of the Sunday-school system are 
due in great part to the superior skill and tire- 
less energy of Rev. Dr. Vincent, who has been for 
the last eight years corresponding secretary. He 
has also stimulated an increased interest in the cir- 
culation of tracts. 


For many years the Church had felt the need of 
some systematic method by which feeble congrega- 
tions could be assisted in the erection of churches. 
The English Wesleyans had established a Chapel 

298 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Building Fund, which had been of great service to 
the Connection, and similar associations had been 
organized in other Churches. This felt want led to 
the action of the General Conference, in 1864, in 
authorizing the establishment of the ** Church Ex- 
tension Society." It was incorporated by the Legis- 
lature of Pennsylvania, March 13, 1865, with its 
central office in Philadelphia. Dr. Samuel Y. Mon- 
roe was appointed its first secretary. Recommenced 
his work with great activity and energy, but had 
scarcely organized the Society when his labors were 
terminated by his sudden death. 

Dr. Monroe was succeeded by Dr. Kynett, who 
had been the active agent in securing the author- 
ization of the Society in the General Conference, 
and who has remained from that time until the 
present its diligent and untiring secretary. The 
annual Church collections made to the Society have 
varied from about thirty thousand dollars to eighty 
thousand dollars. Special donations and bequests 
have added somewhat to this sum. These funds 
are apportioned by the general committee to the 
several conferences, and, under the action of confer- 
ence committees, are distributed to the most needy 
Churches. The appropriations must in all cases be 
approved by the general Board before payment is 

In addition to the fund arising from annual col- 

Church Institutions. 299 

lections, a loan fund has been established, to which 
large contributions have been made, amounting 
in cash to $84,552; in property, to $44,000; in 
annuity funds, to $116,600; and bequests, $5,280; 
making a total of the capital loan fund of $250,432. 
The capital of this fund is designed to be preserved 
intact. It is loaned by the Board, on approved 
security, at such rates of interest as are agreed upon, 
to embarrassed Churches, and to be repaid at such 
times as are specified. By this loan fund, a large 
number of churches, severely pressed, have been 
saved to the Church, and ultimately extricated from 
embarrassment. During the ten years the Board 
has been in operation, it has received by collections 
$709,541 33, and on its loan fund $250,432 09. It 
has "assisted 1,658 Churches in various parts of the 
United States and Territories. Most of these were 
built by the aid thus afforded, and many others pre- 
viously built, but hopelessly involved, were rescued 
by this timely aid. During the last year 290 
Churches, in 38 different States and Territories, re- 
ceived assistance. 219 of these received donations 
alone; 34, loans; 37, both donations and loans. 
The average amount of donations per Church, dur- 
ing the year, was $213 75 ; of loans, $381 13." A 
large portion of the help thus granted was to feeble 
Societies in the West, and to small Churches among 
the colored people in the South. Small donations 

300 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

oftentimes were the means of enabling feeble Socie- 
ties to secure permanent buildings. The following 
table shows the annual receipts : — 


Year. Conf. Col. & Donations. Loan Fund. 

1866 $60,52026 

1867 32,07249 

186S 54,06711 $1,32500 

1869 66,492 53 10,222 00 

1870 69,262 20 33.671 24 

1S71 81,530 49 68,014 00 

1872 75,095 55 36,405 50 

1873 91.799 68 36,324 00 

1874 96,323 17 14,476 35 

1875 82,37785 49,99400 

$709,541 33 $250,432 09 

Several benevolent individuals have contributed 

from $1,000 to $10,000 to the loan fund, desiring 
to leave a portion of their property which shall an- 
nually forever contribute to the erection of churches. 
Some, in advanced years, have made donations of 
similar sums, or even larger, on the condition that 
during their life a specified interest shall be paid 
to them annually, the capital to be the property 
of the board. This fund has increased, as we have 
already stated, to $250,000, a considerable propor- 
tion of which has been secured through the labors 
of Dr. C. C. M'Cabe, who was appointed assistant 

Church Institutions. 301 


Previous to 1866, our Church had co-operated 
K'ith the different Freedmen's Aid Commissions in 
the common work of elevating the freedmen. As 
there was then manifested a strong tendency toward 
denominational movements, it was deemed proper 
to form a separate Church association. A conven- 
tion was called in Cincinnati, and the Freedmen's 
Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
was duly organized, and subsequently it obtained a 
charter under the laws of Ohio. It commenced its 
work in the South about the close of the year 1866, 
though but little was accompHshed until 1868. The 
organization was indorsed by many of the Annual 
Conferences, and the General Conference of 1872 
placed it upon an equal footing with the other 
benevolent enterprises of the Church, commending 
it to the sympathies, prayers, and liberality of the 
people. Its general interests have been under the 
management of Rev. Dr. R. S. Rust, who has been 
its faithful and energetic secretary. By his personal 
efforts, and by his public appeals, a deep interest 
has been awakened in many parts of the Church, 
and great good has been accomplished. 

The necessity for such a society was evident to 
every reflecting mind. In many Southern States 
no schools had been established for the education 

302 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

of the emapcipated slaves, and without education 
they could not enjoy properly the blessings of lib- 
erty. Without the aid of schools and churches 
they must sink into deeper degradation, and their 
liberty would be a curse and not a blessing. This 
society has sent many earnest and deeply devoted 
young men and women to teach the colored popula- 
tion. They offered their services in many cases for 
a bare support, and, in some instances, they also 
contributed of their own funds. 

The progress made by the colored children has 
established the fact of their capacity to learn, and 
has, in a great measure, removed the prejudice 
which had existed against their education. Long 
years of ignorance and degradation had placed the 
race under unfavorable circumstances, and they 
were regarded as vastly inferior to the whites in all 
respects. It is, however, surprising to witness with 
what eagerness they learn, and with what success 
they master the studies in the ordinary course. In 
this respect many of them compare favorably with 
the students in our best seminaries. 

The society has also aimed especially at educat- 
ing teachers who shall be able to train their own 
race, for they alone can perfectly enter into sym- 
pathy with their feelings and aspirations. It has 
also largely aided promising young men who have 
been called to engage in the work of the ministry. 

Church Institutions. 303 

Deplorable indeed was the condition of the freed- 
men immediately after the war. By the laws of 
many of the States they had been forbidden to learn 
to read or write, and yet, with earnest convictions 
and warm religious emotions, they had chiefly con- 
ducted their own religious services. In their new 
position they needed ministers more wisely instruct- 
ed and of more liberal culture. This vast work of 
training young ministers is being accomplished in 
part, though very slowly, by this society. It has 
established institutions which are constantly in- 
creasing in influence, and it is to be hoped, that 
under the liberal patronage of the Church, a larger 
number may be educated. 

The following table presents a concise view of the 
work of the society for eight years : — 

Teachers Amount 

^'^'""- Employed. Expended. 

1S68 52 $37,139 89 

1869 70 50,167 24 

1870 105 93-5T3 50* 

1871 no 82,71949* 

1S72 75 51.568 43 

1873 70 55.134 93 

1S74 60 66,99574 

T875 50 86,562 88 

With the exception of the amount furnished for 
two years from the Freedmen's Bureau, the funds 
of the society have been received wholly by con- 
tributions from the benevolent. 

♦ Including appropriation: from Freedmen's Bureau. 

304 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

It has aided in the estabhshment or support of 
the following institutions : Baldwin Seminary, Bald- 
win, Louisiana ; New Orleans University and Thom- 
son Biblical Institute, New Orleans, Louisiana; 
Rust Biblical and Normal Institute, Huntsville, 
Alabama ; Richmond Normal School, Richmond, 
Virginia ; Centenary Biblical Institute, Baltimore, 
Maryland ; Wiley University, Marshall, Texas ; 
Cookman Institute, Jacksonville, Florida ; Bennett 
Seminary, Greensborough, North Carolina ; Or 
phans' Home, Baldwin, Louisiana. 

Besides these, the society has also assisted a larg-c 
number of common schools. As the result of its 
labors, fifty thousand young people have been taught 
in its day-schools and seventy-five thousand in its 
Sunday-schools. It has trained many young men 
for the ministry, and many for teachers in normal 
schools. A few have also been educated who have 
volunteered to go to Africa to work for the regen- 
eration of their race there. Thus the field of the 
society is a large one. Millions of the colored popu- 
lation are calling for assistance in our own country, 
and the multiplied millions in Africa must receive, 
in great measure, from the hands of those educated 
in this country, the blessings of Christianity and of 
free and civilized institutions. 

Church Institutions. 305 


Methodism, appealing directly to the conscience 
and judgment of the individual, and urging personal 
exertion for the salvation of those around us, early 
enlisted the activities and energies of the women of 
the Church. Mr. Wesley gave them full liberty to 
speak, both in class-meetings and in the love-feasts 
and prayer-meetings of the Church. They were 
invited to take part in social, and, oftentimes, in 
public prayer. They were appointed class leaders, 
and, in a few special instances, as in the case of Mrs. 
Rogers, Mrs. Fletcher, and some others, they were 
permitted to read sermons or to make public ex- 
hortations and addresses ; these instances, however, 
were very rare. The same spirit has pervaded the 
different branches of Methodism wherever it has 
been established, and Christian women have often- 
times led in revival seasons in the Church. As the 
result of this education, they have been among the 
most active workers in benevolent associations, and 
not a few of our pious ladies have been furnished 
to other Churches as distributers of tracts, visitors 
of the sick, and as laborers in various forms of mis- 
sionary work. 

A few years since the Woman's Foreign Mission- 
ary Society was organized at Boston, and has since 

established branches in all the leading cities. Under 

3o6 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

its influence not only has a large amount of money 
been annually contributed, but, what is of much 
more value, a number of earnest, devoted, and self- 
sacrificing young women have gone forth as teach- 
ers and as missionaries into distant lands. A 
number have educated themselves as physicians, 
that they might have access to their degraded sisters 
in India and China, and while prescribing for their 
maladies, might point them to Jesus as the great 
physician of souls. 

The influence of this association is constantly ex- 
tending, and if wisely managed will be of inestima- 
ble value to the Church at home in cultivating the 
missionary spirit in families, as well as in diffusing 
the knowledge of f hrist in distant lands. 

In "the wonderful temperance crusade, which oc- 
curred a few years since in the West, many of the 
most active workers were found in the ranks of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church ; and in the temper- 
ance organization in which women are now taking a 
conspicuous part, they are largely represented. 

An association, called the '' Ladies and Pastors* 
Christian Union," was formed in Philadelphia a 
few years since, having for its object the develop- 
ment of Christian work, especially in towns and 
cities, among the poor and neglected population. 
It was also designed to aid the pastors of Churches 
in the visitation of the sick, and in giving more 

Church Institutions. 307 

attention to strangers. It was indorsed by the last 
General Conference as a Church association, and a 
board of management was appointed. As a general 
association it has not accomplished much ; but as a 
local auxiliary, wherever it has been properly and 
actively organized, the results have been highly 
beneficial. There can be no doubt that such asso- 
ciations, organized in each Church and efficiently 
united in each large city, are capable of accomplish- 
ing a vast amount of good. 

By the efforts of devoted Christian women homes 
for the aged of the Church have been established in 
New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, where, in 
tasteful and commodious buildings, several hun- 
dreds of the poor and friendless are maintained 
and kindly watched over. Some incipient meas- 
ures have also been taken toward the founding of 

While Methodism has never brought forward its 
women quite so systematically in the business of the 
Church as has been done by the Society of Friends, 
yet it may safely be said, that no body of Christians 
has so fully developed the talents and enterprise of 
that part of the Church. 

3o8 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 



"X It THILE the growth of the Methodist Episcopal 
' ^ Church has been rapid and continuous, as we 
have seen in th( sketch of its history, there have 
from time to time been secessions and separations. 
Prior to the organization of the Church, at the close 
of 1784, several of the preachers had, for various 
reasons, withdrawn from the Church, and in a few 
cases they had taken individual societies with them. 
Thus the Forest Cl^urch, north of Philadelphia, be- 
came iftdependent, and in 1776 Robert Strawbridge, 
unwilling to submit to the order and appointment 
of the Conference, settled north of Baltimore, and 
took charge of the Societies at Sam's Creek, in 
Carroll County, and at Bush Forest, Harford Coun- 
ty. He remained independent until 1781, when 
he died. Both Societies, however, languished, and 
that on Sam's Creek became extinct. Strawbridge 
occasionally visited other places as an independent 
preacher. Several of our ministers, also, having re- 
ceived invitations, took charge of Churches of other 

The first secession from the Methodist Episcopal 

American Branches. 309 

Church was that produced by James O'Kelly, to 
which allusion has been made, and which resulted 
in the formation of the " RepubHcan Methodist 
Church," which in a few years changed its name 
to the "Christian Church." For a time it had a 
large membership in southern and middle Virginia, 
and also to some extent in Kentucky and Tennes- 
see. But in the course of some fifteen years from its 
organization, and long before the death of O'Kelly, 
it completely disappeared. Its distinguishing feat- 
ures in church government were the abolition of the 
presiding eldership and of the episcopacy. 

About the same time that O'Kelly seceded, a 
minister from England, Mr. Hammett, who had ac- 
companied Dr. Coke to the West Indies, and who 
remained for a time there, came to Charleston, and, 
not being gratified in an appointment which he de- 
sired, established an independent Church. He suc- 
ceeded in uniting with him two or three ministers, 
who established Churches at other points. In a few 
years after he died, and the members of the inde- 
pendent Churches returned to their union with the 
parent body. 


From O'Kelly's secession in 1792, until 181 5, the 
Church had entire quiet. In that year a difficulty 
occurred with the colored membership in ttie city 

3IO A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

of Philadelphia. They had built, in 1792, with the 
assistance of the white membership, a large church, 
called ** Bethel," at Sixth and Lombard stieets. 
They had prospered under the general superintend- 
ence of the preachers in charge of the white congre- 
gations. For imaginary or real causes they thought 
they were not properly treated. One Sabbath, at 
the hour of service, when Mr. Roberts, afterward 
bishop, was, as presiding elder, about to fill the 
appointment previously made, one of the colored 
preachers took possession of the pulpit and com- 
menced the services. When Mr. Roberts entered 
the church, the preacher called to the congregation: 
"Pray, brethren, pray; the devil is coming." Mr. 
Roberts, as soon as quiet was restored, simply stated 
that as the pulpit was occupied he was prevented 
from beginning services according to appointment, 
and retired. Subsequently they declared them- 
selves independent. 

Under the supervision of Richard Allen, who was 
ordained as their first bishop, a Church was organ- 
ized, with the discipline and usages of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, and called the African Methodist 
Episcopal Church. It was known for some time, 
and is still in many places distinguished, by the title 
of the ''Bethel Chuxh." A large part of the col- 
ored population in Philadelphia and vicinity, num- 
bering about three thousand, seceded. These were 

A merican Branches. 311 

joined by others in Delaware, Maryland, and Vir- 
ginia, swelling the number to some five or six thou- 
sand. The larger part of the colored membership 
in Delaware and Maryland, however, retained their 
connection with the parent Church. The African 
Methodist Episcopal Church grew slowly for a num- 
ber of years. The number in 1825 was but little 
larger than within a year of the secession. From 
1825 to i860 the increase was steady, though not 
rapid. At the period of emancipation, and espe- 
cially on the triumph of the Union arms, large ac- 
cessions were made. In 1865 56,000 members were 
reported; in 1867 about 67,000; while in 1874 they 
reported over 100,000; and at present their Minutes 
show 207,000. If these numbers are correct, the 
additions from other bodies must have been very 

They have a small Book Concern in Philadelphia, 
and they issue a weekly paper. They also maintain 
a college at Xenia, Ohio, and are encouraging the 
spirit of education among their youth. 



This Church separated from the African Method- 
ist Episcopal Church in 1820. A Church was organ- 
ized in Philadelphia known as the Zion Church, 
but the chief strength of the new denomination was 

312 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

in New York, and among the colored people scat- 
tered through the northern States. It was affected 
to some extent by the Presbyterian and Congre- 
gational sentiments of the country. It adopted a 
modification of church government by electing su- 
perintendents every four years, without ordination, 
and rejecting the presiding eldership. At the same 
time it, strangely enough, retained the title of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. As the colored peo- 
ple in the northern States had better opportunities 
for intellectual culture than in the southern, or even 
in the border States, their ministers were men of 
more information than were those farther south. 
When, during the war, portions of the slave States 
were occupied by northern troops, the ministers of 
the ** ^ion Church ' were among the earliest in the 
field, and large bodies of the colored Methodists in 
the south became connected with them. It is said 
that their chief officers were called superintendents 
only until about this period, when they became 
known as bishops. Some of the ministers of the 
African Methodist Episcopal Church allege that 
only by the assumption of this title could the col- 
ored people be brought to believe that they were a 
branch of the old ]\Iethodist Church of the United 
States. Their numbers are given in the Methodist 
Almanac for 1875 at 225,000, being then reported as 
the most numerous branch of African Methodism, 

A. merican Branches. 3 1 3 

We are satisfied, however, that these numbers are 
not correctly reported. The organization is com- 
paratively lax and inefficient. It has been unable 
to sustain a periodical, and has scarcely the outlines 
of a feeble Book Concern. So far as the writer is 
acquainted, in all the chief cities the African INIeth- 
odist Episcopal Church has gained rapidly upon it, 
both in numbers and influence, and there can be no 
doubt that, compared with the African Church, it is 
much less numerous and efficient. It has, however, 
many truly devoted and active ministers, who are 
laboring zealously for the interests of their race. 
The writer estimates its members as being, prob- 
ably, about 150,000. 


In 1 8 19 Rev. Mr. Stilwell, of New York, became 
dissatisfied with church order and appointments, 
and succeeded in inducing a large congregation to 
withdraw from the Church. _ He attempted to form 
an association ; several local ministers rallied around 
him, and a few congregations were organized, called 
Independent Methodists, but generally known as 
Stilwellites. Like O'Kelly, he rejected the episco- 
pacy and presiding eldership. In the discussions 
which occurred from 1820 to 1824 a few independ- 
ent congregations were organized in affinity with 
this movement, but it met with no general favor, 

314 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

and the Church disintegrated and disappeared, or 
was merged in the Methodist Protestant movement. 


In 1828, as has been already stated, at a conven- 
tion in Baltimore, the " Associated Methodist 
Churches " were formed, which shortly after took 
the name of the " IMethodist Protestant Church," 
and in this secession, within a few years, probably 
some 30,000 members withdrew. A number of dis- 
tinguished and talented ministers were among the 
leaders, and some of its members were men of cult- 
ure, wealth, and high social position. Its doctrines 
and usages are the same as those in the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, the only difference being in the 
^overfiment of the Church. They rejected the of- 
fices of bishop and presiding elder, and made stew- 
irds and class-leaders elective. Each Annual Con- 
ference elects its president for the year, who, with 
in associate committee, stations the preachers; and 
:he president travels through the bounds of the Con- 
"erence. They were especially strong in Baltimore 
md in Pittsburgh, with Churches in all the leading 
:ities and through many of the States. For some 
nght or ten years after their formation they graou- 
illy extended their borders, and through partial se- 
:essions from the old Church increased their mem- 
)ership. Since that period they have gone forward, 

American Branches. 315 

endeavoring to do their part in the work of general 
evangelization. During the conflict on slavery, 
which preceded the war, they divided into two sec- 
tions, the northern and the southern ; the paper of 
the northern section being pubhshed at Pittsburgh, 
Pa., and that of the southern in Baltimore. After 
the close of the war an effort was made to unite the 
different non-episcopal Churches into one body. A 
number of the Methodist Protestant Churches and 
several of the Wesleyans, and a io.^ Independents, 
held a convention, and organized what was termed 
the Methodist Church, intended to embrace these 
several bodies. Nearly all of the Methodist Prot- 
estants in the northern States went into this organ- 
ization, but those of the south declined to enter, as 
also a few Societies in the north : and the result, 
instead of promoting a union of all the Churches, 
has only added one more to the number of branches 
of Methodism. The statistics of the Methodist 
Church are now as follows: 775 traveling minis- 
ters, 507 local preachers, and 55,183 members. 
The Methodist Protestants, embracing the south- 
ern section, report 650 traveling ministers, 200 local 
preachers, and 54,819 members. 

In 1842, in the midst of the slavery agitation in 
New England, a secession took place which formed 

3i6 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

what was termed the Wesleyan Church. Its prt- 
paratory organ was " Zion's Watchman," in New 
York, but this was succeeded by the " True Wes- 
leyan," pubHshed in Syracuse, where there is also a 
small Book Concern. The secession at first was 
quite formidable, as an impression was created that 
the Methodist Episcopal Church was not antislavery. 
The events of 1844, however, with the separation of 
the South on account of the antislavery position of 
the Church, changed the state of public opinion, 
and restricted to some extent the prospects of the 
Wesleyans. In their organization, like the Method- 
ist Protestants, they rejected episcopacy and the 
presiding eldership, and they adopted presidents of 
Conferences in tfieir stead. This organization has 
not increased to any great extent. Several of the 
principal leaders, embracing Doctors Lee, Prindle, 
and Matlack, fully satisfied with the antislavery po- 
sition of the Methodist Episcopal Church, returned 
to its fold, and have labored actively and efficiently. 
A few congregations united with the Methodist 
Church, to which we have alluded, while the Wes- 
leyan organization still remains, numbering about 
20,000. Both the Wesleyans and the Methodist 
Protestants endeavored to frame their organization 
somewhat after that of the Wesleyans in England. 
They appear to have overlooked the fact, that the 
entire territory in England being small, its affairs 

American Branches. 317 

can be managed by a single Conference ; whereas in 
this country the territory is so large that there must 
be a number of distinct Conferences. For efficient 
action and proper interchange, these bodies abso- 
lutely require a connectional bond. 


The circumstances connected with the organiza- 
tion of this body have been already detailed. The 
conflict on the subject of slavery had been long 
and earnest, and sometimes bitter; and when, in 
the cases of Harding from Baltimore and of Bishop 
Andrew of Georgia, the General Conference took 
its strong antislavery position, the Southern minis- 
ters believed the time had come when they must 
establish a separate Church. Accordingly fourteen 
southern Annual Conferences elected delegates, who 
met in convention, in the city of Louisville, on 
the 1st of May, 1845, Bishops Soule and Andrew 
presiding over their deliberations. After full dis- 
cussion they resolved to constitute themselves a 
distinct ecclesiastical connection, to be known as 
the "Methodist Episcopal Church, South." They 
adopted the doctrines, usages, and the entire system 
of discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
claiming that they were a component part of it, 
and that their separation was a geographical one, 
induced by necessity. The only alteration made was 

3i8 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

the omission of the rules and declarations against 

A General Conference was called, which met 
May I, 1846, at which they elected Rev. Dr. Capers, 
of South Carolina, and Rev. Dr. Paine, of Alabama, 
bishops. Both of them were men of talent and 
prominence, and had been members of the General 
Conference of 1844. 

The question of slavery being the chief matter of 
discussion, all the excitement connected with that 
question entered into the separation of the Church 
along the border, and the conflict assumed a civil as 
well as an ecclesiastical phase. Had the line of 
division been strictly between the Free and the 
Slav^ States, by the personal consent and prefer- 
ence of the members and ministers, possibly the 
division might have been peaceful ; but as the min- 
isters and membership in Delaware, in Maryland, 
and in that part of Virginia contained in the Balti- 
more and the Western Virginia Conferences, to- 
gether with Societies in Kentucky and Missouri, 
desired to continue their membership in the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, a bitter controversy suc- 
ceeded. The members of the old Church were 
charged with being untrue and disloyal to the in- 
terests of the Southern States, and the public mind 
was in many places deeply prejudiced against them. 
How far this arose from the action of some of the 

American Branches. 3^9 

ministers in the Church South, and how far it sprung 
out of the spirit of the times and the questions 
necessarily discussed, are matters on which a great 
difference of judgment exists. 

The Church South prosecuted its work earnestly 
and vigorously throughout its bounds, and its sta- 
tistical tables show a regular and constant increase 
until the occurrence of the great civil conflict, in 
1861. Being citizens of the Slave States, and par- 
ticipating in the common feeling of their section, 
the leading ministers and members were fully iden- 
tified with the attempt at secession. Some of the 
chief ministers were the personal friends of the lead- 
ing statesmen, and exercised no small influence 
among them. They, of course, shared the vicissi- 
tudes and misfortunes of the war, and at the close 
of the Rebellion they suffered from the common 
losses. Their slave property was lost, many of 
their members and friends had fallen in the war, 
many homes had been destroyed in its ravages, and 
church edifices had suffered in common with the 
other buildings of the land. The colored member- 
ship being set free, very naturally turned away from 
Church fellowship with those who had previously 
held them in bondage, and being free to select for 
themselves, the majority united with the "African" 
or " Zion " colored Churches. But, as the old Church 
extended its services into the Slave States, a large 

320 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

number applied for admission albO into the parent 
Church. This produced a diminution of member- 
ship much greater than that of strength. Since 
1865 there has been a constant increase. 

At the General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, in 1866, a system of lay 
delegation was adopted both in their General and 
Annual Conferences, the number in the Annual 
Conference being comparatively limited. The pro- 
bationary period was stricken out, and the rule 
for class meetings made less stringent. At their 
Conference in 1870 a rule was proposed that if the 
bishops of the Church judged any measure passed 
by the General Conference to be unconstitutional, 
and should present their objections in writing, and 
if two thirds of the General Conference should 
thereafter vote for its passage, it must be sent, as iii 
the case of the alteration of a restrictive rule, to the 
Annual Conferences. This proposition being passed 
by more than two thirds of the General Conference, 
it received the sanction of more than a three-fourths 
vote of the Annual Conferences, and was, in 1874, 
declared to be the law of the Church. 

The Book Concern was established in Nashville, 
Tennessee, and after the division of the capital at 
New York and Cincinnati it possessed considerable 
means. During the war, when. Nashville was occu- 
pied by the northern army, many of the leading 

American Branches. 3^^ 

men fled farther south, and its operations were 
greatly crippled. At the close of the Rebellion it 
was aeain refitted, and has since been prosecuting 
its work vigorously. 

As the great question in dispute between the 
Sonth and the North was largely settled in the 
issues of the war, a kindlier feeling between the 
two bodies is gradually being manifested, and it is 
probable that in the lapse of a comparatively few 
years a full fraternal feeling may be restored. Some 
have anticipated the possibility of organic reunion, 
but at present there are no indications of its speedy 

Not only has the Church South occupied the 
Slave States in which it was organized, but it has 
also extended its Conferences into California, Ore- 
gon, Illinois, Kansas, and Colorado. From the time 
of the division it also controlled the Indian work 
west of Arkansas and Missouri. Shortly after its 
formation it established a mission in China, which is 
still maintained, though it has not been very greatly 
enlarged. More recently it has established a mis- 
sion in Mexico among the Spanish-speaking popu- 
lation. As it is in close geographical relations with 
that country, it is to be hoped that its mission may 
be of immense service to that republic. 

Prior to the separation, a number of flourishing 

seminaries and colleges had been established in the 

322 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

southern States. During the civil conflicts they 
were greatly weakened, and in some cases the en- 
dowments were partially or wholly lost. Since that 
period many of them have been revived under favor- 
able auspices, and are largely attended. Quite re- 
cently the Vanderbilt University has been estab- 
lished and opened at Nashville, and to its funds INIr. 
Vanderbilt, of New York, has contributed the mag- 
nificent sum of about $700,000. 

The statistics in their ^Minutes, published early in 
1875, are as follows: Preachers — traveling, 3,224, 
superannuated, 261 ; local, 5,356. ^Members, 712,765. 
Sunday-schools, 7,204; teachers, 48,825; scholars, 

Fi\^ of the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, have died, namely: Bishops Soule, 
Andrew, Bascom, Capers, and Early. They now 
have eight bishops who are actively engaged in 
the supervision of their work, namely : Robert 
Paine, George F- Pierce, Hubbard H. Kavanaugh, 
William 'M. Wightman, Enoch jNI. Marvin, David S. 
Doggett, Holland N. M'Tyeire, and John C. Keener. 



As a large part of the colored population left the 
Church South, it was deemed wise by that Church to 
aid in establishing, under their friendship and assist 

American Branches, 32$ 

ance, a colored organization. By their advice the 
principal part of the colored membership which re- 
mained had constituted themselves into an independ- 
ent body, called the " Colored Methodist Episcopal 
Church of America." They adopted the Discipline 
of the Church South, and elected bishops, who were 
ordained by the bishops of the Church South, and 
thus added another to the branches of Methodism 
among the colored people. They now have four 
bishops, and they report 14 Conferences, 635 trav- 
eling preachers, and about 80,000 Church members. 


In i860 a secession took place in Western New 
York, and formed what was termed the "Free 
Methodist Church." The organization w^as rather 
local in its character, springing out of alleged griev- 
ances in the administration of the Genesee Con- 
ference. It, however, assumed for its basis op- 
position to secret societies and to pew churches, 
insisting also upon greater plainness in dress, great- 
er simplicity in church edifices, and greater spirit- 
uality. It has since organized congregations in the 
West, and a few scattering congregations in the 
Middle States. 

Its doctrines, discipline, and usages resemble close- 
ly the parent Church, but, like the other seceding 
bodies, it has rejected the presiding eldership and 

324 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

the episcopacy. Its members number about ten 


Itinerant Local Lay 

Ministers. Preachers. Members. 

Methodist Episcopal 10,923 12,881 1,580,559 

Methodist Episcopal, South 3,485 5,356 712,765 

Colored Methodist Episcopal 635 683 80,000 

African Methodist Episcopal 600 i,450 200,000 

African Methodist Episcopal Zion . . 1,200 800 150,000 

The "Methodist Church" 775 507 55,183 

Methodist Protestant 650 200 54,3i9 

American Wesleyan 250 190 20,000 

Free Methodists 90 80 10,000 

Primitive Methodists 20 25 2,800 

Cong'l and other Indep't Methodists 23 . . 9,500 

Total Methodists in United States 18,651 22,172 2,875,126 


There are in addition to these the United Breth- 
ren, numbering about one hundred and thirty-one 
thousand, and the EvangeHcal Association, number- 
ing about ninety-five thousand. They are frequent- 
ly called Methodists, and are classified with them. 
There is but little difference either in doctrine or 
government, yet, as they bear different names, we 
have not included them in the above table. 

Methodism in Foreign Countries. 325 



A T the beginning of the Centennial Period the 
^^^ number of members in Great Britain and Ire- 
land amounted to about 35,000. There was no 
change in the economy of the Church until the 
death of Mr. Wesley, which took place March 2, 
1 79 1. We have no space to give a sketch of Mr. 
Wesley's life and labors. He was one of the leaders 
of his race ; a man whom the world has recognized 
as possessing all the elements of a great statesman, 
united with the humility and devotion of an apostle. 
He not only, as a great preacher, attracted the atten- 
tion of the world, but his sympathy for every form 
of suffering, and his readiness to take part in every 
philanthropic movement, endeared him to the hearts 
of the masses. It was feared by many, that after 
his death, his Societies would become disorganized, 
and that the work would pass away. It pleased 
God, however, to spare him until his thoughts had 
been so fully comprehended, and his plans so per- 
fected, as to give the Societies organization and 
stability. The number reported in the Society at 
the Conference following his decease were, in Great 

326 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Britain 72,476, and in Nova Scotia and the West 
Indies 6,527; making a total of 79,003. The Con- 
ference engaged to follow strictly the plan which 
Mr. Wesley had left, and limited the term of the 
preachers' appointment to two years, except in cases 
of ** remarkable revival." The appointments were 
made by a committee, and Dr. Coke was selected to 
preside in the Irish Conference. 

A few brethren had previously been selected by 
Mr. Wesley, who were authorized to administer the 
sacraments. The same right was claimed by others, 
and Alexander Kilham became the leader of a party 
claiming entire liberty. At the following Confer- 
ence Mr. Kilham was arraigned and censured. 
Many^ of the people, nevertheless, petitioned for 
the sacraments, and for entire separation from the 
Church of England, and thus two parties arose in 
the bosom of the Church. In many places congre- 
^^ations were divided, and in some locations consid- 
srable secessions took place. Finally, a plan of 
pacification was adopted, which secured general 
unanimity. This plan gave permission for the sacra- 
ments, where a majority of the stewards and leaders 
should approve ; but did not render it obligatory 
apon any of the members to attend. To avoid ex- 
iting the hostility of the Church of England and 
ts friends, the preachers were empowered to admin- 
ister tlie sacraments without ordination, and this 

Methodism in Foreign Countries. 327 

remained the practice of the Conference until 1832, 
when a form of ordination was adopted. 

Mr. Kilham, to whom we have alluded, was not 
satisfied, and having published some very severe 
animadversions, he was arraigned and expelled. 
Shortly afterward he organized the "Methodist 
New Connection." Only two of the conference 
ministers, however, united with him. He was more 
successful among the members, some five thousand 
of whom were drawn away. 

They retained all the doctrines and usages of the 
Wesleyan body, and its general polity ; but they 
administered the sacraments, and gave some addi- 
tional privileges and prominence to the laity. This 
was the first secession, and the organization still re- 
mains. They reported in 1875, 158 traveling preach- 
ers, 436 chapels, 25,837 members and probationers, 
and 70,000 Sunday-school scholars. 

Notwithstanding this secession, the Societies reg- 
ularly increased, numbering 113,698 in 1798. Such 
was the growth of Methodism that the Church of 
England became seriously alarmed, and bills were 
introduced into Parliament designed to cripple its 
operations. But the Methodists and Dissenters, 
making common cause, presented such a multitude 
of petitions that the measure was defeated. The 
continual opposition, however, and the attempt to 
pass unfavorable acts, or to induce the judges to give 

328 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

a severe construction to existing ones, made it 
necessary to constitute a committee on privileges, 
who care for the general interests of the Church, 
and endeavor to avert hostile legislation. 

In 1816 a new organization was formed, called 
the " Primitive Methodist " Church. Its immediate 
occasion was the expulsion of some preachers for 
insubordination in their mode of conducting meet- 
ings. They appear to have been earnest, sincere 
Christians ; but they were unwilling to submit to the 
order of the Church. Unlike most other secessions, 
they reproved their members for unkind words to- 
ward others, and they have aimed at living in peace 
with all denominations. 

They have prese^ed all the outlines of Method- 
istic doctrine, and, like the early Methodists, they la- 
bor effectively among the poorer population. They 
reported in 1875 nearly 170,000 members, and over 
300,000 Sunday-school scholars. 

Several secessions have since taken place, among 
which the chief one was that which resulted in the 
formation of the United Methodist Free Church, 
which now numbers some 74,000 members. 

Notwithstanding the loss incurred by these seces- 
sions, the parent body continued to increase in 
membership, in churches, and in financial strength. 
While the Wesleyans were thus active at home, 
they were also enlarging the field of their missionary 

Methodism in Foreign Countries. S2g 

operations. We have already stated that their mis 
sions were established in the West Indies by Dr. 
Coke in 1786. A few years later their work began 
in France. In 1813 Dr. Coke sailed for Asia, and 
the preachers associated with him laid there, in 18 14, 
the foundations of Wesleyan Societies. Some three 
years previous a mission had been founded in Sierra 
Leone, on the west coast of Africa, which has been 
maintained to the present time, and as early as 
181 5 a mission was started in Australia. Since that 
period they have established missions in many of 
the islands of the south seas, some of which have 
been remarkably successful in Christianizing almost 
the entire population. Their field has enlarged, so 
as to embrace not only the British dominions in 
America, Africa, and Asia, but they have also ex- 
tended into China and Japan, and into a number of 
the East India islands. 

They have also given increased attention to 
education. The old Kingswood School in 185 1 was 
removed to a location near Bath, and called the 
"New Kingswood School." To this has been add- 
ed "Woodhouse Grove," ''Five Elms," and -'Trin- 
ity Hall." They have also erected a training-school 
at Westminster for young men as teachers, at a cost 
of some $120,000, and fine buildings for young 
women at Battersea, costing $80,000. As early as 
J 834, a theological school was started in the Hox- 

330 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ton Academy, which* was subsequently removed to 
Didsbury, near Manchester. A second theological 
school was started in 1843 ^^ Richmond, in the vi- 
cinity of London. Subsequently this passed into 
the hands of the Missionary Society, and a new in- 
stitution was opened at Heddingly, near Leeds. As 
the Conference oftentimes receives more applica- 
tions than it has appointments, young, men are 
placed on the reserve list, subject to the call of the 
president, and are sent to these different institutions 
of learning. During their education they are ex- 
pected to hold active service wherever doors may 
open, and in every way to show their capability and 
their devotion to the work. They have also two 
colleges, which arl thoroughly Methodistic, but 
which are not owned by the Conference. The first 
is the Wesleyan College at Sheffield, with beautiful 
grounds overlooking the city, and costing $150,000. 
It has an affiliated connection with the University 
of London. The second is the Wesleyan College at 
Taunton, which is also doing an excellent work. 

The Book Concern which Mr. Wesley established 
has been continued, still publishing its magazine, 
and issuing a large number of books. The " Quar- 
terly Review," however, and the weekly periodicals, 
such as the " Watchman" and " Recorder," though 
representing Methodist sentiments, are not under 
the control of the Conference. 

Methodism in Foreign Countries. 33 1 

There are now in Great Britain ZS'^^Jl^ members, 
and 27,642 on trial, giving a total oi 386,414- They 
also report 21,'jo'j class leaders, 13,737 lay preachers, 
5,917 chapels, connectionally settled, 1,760 other 
preaching places, and 1,731.582 sittings. 

Their mission work is in a flourishing condition. 
Some most remarkable triumphs of the Gospel have 
occurred under their agency in the Society and Fiji 
Islands. The latter, from being a population of can- 
nibals, has become a civilized and Christian people, 
and recently the islands have been annexed to the 
British crown. Australasia, once wholly inhabited 
by savages, is now covered with an enterprising 
population. Three colleges have been established, 
and four Annual Conferences, which are now em- 
braced under the government of a General Confer- 
ence, whose first meeting was during last year. 

Methodism in Ireland has presented peculiar 
phases. At its introduction, under Mr. Wesley and 
his assistants, rapid progress was made in many lo- 
calities, and out of it have come some of the most ear- 
nest workers in all parts of the world. Among these 
may be mentioned, standing in the front of Meth- 
odistic movements. Dr. Adam Clarke, the author 
of the "Commentary," and Rev. William Arthur, 
for some time president of the college at Belfast, 
and now one of the missionary secretaries. By 
Irish local preachers, Methodism was introduced 

332 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

both into New York and* Maryland, and an Irishman 
was the first preacher in AustraHa. Yet in Ireland 
itself, the progress for many years has been exceed- 
ingly small and slow. At- Mr. Wesley's death, in 
1 79 1, the figures show a membership of about 
17,000; to-day, after a lapse of eighty-four years, 
the membership is about 21,000. A few years after 
Mr. Wesley's death the numbers amounted to some 
24,000, so that, with little exception, for a long pe- 
riod, its numerical strength has been about the 
same. It has, however, strengthened in various 
ways. In Dublin and Belfast and other places, large 
and beautiful churches have been erected. In Bel- 
fast there is a fine college building and an institution 
affording excellent edifcational privileges. There is 
also a connectlonal school in Dublin. 

There are several causes for the comparatively 
stationary condition of the Wesleyan Church in 
Ireland. First : The overwhelming majority of the 
people, especially in the southern part of the king- 
dom, is Roman Catholic, and Methodists have been 
from the beginning severely persecuted. Second: In 
the north of Ireland, the Presbyterian Churches are 
strongly established, a large part of the population 
having originally emigrated from Scotland. Third : 
The Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland or 
Episcopal Church, and the Presbyterian, have all 
received aid from the Government, the ministers 

Methodism in Foreign Countries. 333 

being partly supported by government funds, while 
the Methodists have never received any thing. 
Fourth : The emigration of Methodists from Ireland 
has always been large, the motives being partly the 
severe pressure under which they suffer from the 
causes mentioned. 

It may be questioned, whether their union with 
England, which always furnishes them with the 
president of its Conference, has developed within 
them enough of independence for vigorous and 
hearty growth. There has always been the kind- 
est feeling existing between the English and Irish 
Conferences, and a sincere effort has been made to 
do for Ireland whatever was judged to be best ; but 
whether the form of government and the exercise of 
influence, have been of that energetic and efficient 
character necessary to sustain a weak Church in the 
midst of such severe difficulties, may admit of doubt. 
Be that as it may, the fact remains, that, while 
Methodism has increased rapidly in almost every 
other country in which it has been established, the 
growth in Ireland has been exceedingly slow. The 
facts, also, that in France, where the ecclesiastical 
polity and relations are of the same character, there 
has been an exceedingly slow movement, and that 
Canada and Australia have deemed it necessary 
for their development to adopt ecclesiastical inde- 
pendence, seem to give strength to the suggestion. 

334 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Why Wesleyanism in fengland cannot exercise a 
continuous and controlling beneficial influence over 
its Churches outside of England, while American 
Methodism retains in its association and in its unity 
the Conferences in Germany, in Africa, and in India, 
and shows no signs of weakening, may well suggest 
questions of deep interest to the thoughtful mind. 


The war between Great Britain and the United 
States, from 1812 to 18 15, greatly embarrassed the 
work of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada. 
The preachers who had been sent from the United 
States were obliged to retire from the field, but 
those whq had been raised up in Canada continued 
faithfully at their posts. After the return of peace 
other ministers were sent, and the work progressed 
in its usual order. The bitter feelings, however, 
which had been aroused between England and the 
United States, and which had also affected many of 
the leading minds in Canada, led to an application 
on the part of a few Societies for missionaries to be 
sent from England. 

These missionaries, with more zeal than prudence, 
began to excite the popular mind against the Church 
in the United States, and a few Societies severed 
their connection with the parent Church and identi- 
fied themselves with the Wesleyans of England. 

Methodism in Foreign Countries, 335 

The questions at issue led to negotiations between 
the Methodist Episcopal and Wesleyan bodies, and 
for a time a boundary was agreed upon between 
the Churches, Lower Canada being given over to the 
Wesleyan s of England, and Upper Canada chiefly 
remaining to the Methodist Episcopal Church. The 
spirit of discontent, however, was fostered by En- 
glish influences, and the Methodists, who suffered 
a number of legal privations, were promised more 
government favor if they would become an inde- 
pendent Church. 

In 1824 the work in Canada was organized into 
a separate Annual Conference, and in 1828, on their 
petition, the General Conference agreed, that if they 
should declare themselves an independent Church 
and elect a superintendent, he might be ordained by 
the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church. At 
the following Conference, at which Bishop Hedding 
presided, the Canada Conference declared its inde- 
pendence, and organized under the name of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada, electing 
William Case as superintendent pro tent. Subse- 
quently Dr. Fisk was elected bishop, but declined 
to accept. 

Instead, however, of finding the advantages an- 
ticipated, no special favors were granted, and efforts 
were soon made to induce the Canada Methodists 
to identify themselves with the English Wesleyans. 

33^ A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Aid was promised by the Missionary Society, and 
the English government, under representations from 
Canada, threw its influence in the same direction, 
and the result was that, in 1833, a plan of union was 
adopted, and the greater part of the Methodists of 
Canada were united with the Wesleyan Methodists 
of England. 

A few ministers, however, dissatisfied with the ar- 
rangement, and believing the whole movement had 
been unconstitutional, as they had adopted the Dis- 
cipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with all 
its restrictive rules, proceeded to re-organize the 
Church under its former name and discipline. This 
organization embraced a few ministers and about 
five thousand membeng. It has since that time re- 
mained an independent Church, and for many years 
was very feeble, as the wealth and a large propor- 
tion of the learning and social influence of the mem- 
bers were in the Wesleyan movement. 

Rev. J. Richardson was subsequently elected bish- 
op, and watched over the interests of the Church 
with care and fidelity until his death, which occurred 
only a year or two since. Rev. A. A. Carman was 
elected and ordained at their last General Confer- 
ence, and is now the superintendent of the Church. 
Its members have increased to over twenty-three 
thousand ; it has a Book Concern, and publishes a 
weekly paper, and it has also established two insti- 

Methodism iji Foreign Countries. 337 

tufions of learning. It promises to be an organiza- 
tion of efficiency and usefulness. 


As has been already stated, the great proportion 
of the Canada Methodist Episcopal Church in 1833 
identified itself with the Wesleyans of England. In 
a few years after, the Conference became in some 
sense an independent, though an affiliated, body: 
the president of the Conference being regularly 
sent out from England to preside over its delibera- 
tions. It had two divisions, the Wesleyans in Can- 
ada, and the Wesleyans in Eastern British America. 
These continued their work with great energy, in- 
creasing in ministers and members. The following 
table shows their growth : — 

Year. Ministers. Members. 

1833 81 16,039 

1835 95 15,056 

T845 144 22,946 

1855 228 37,885 

1865 536 56,353 

1874 (before recent union) 73,7oi 

1875 (after union) ...1,093 107,575 

As these tables indicate, in 1874 a union was 
effected between the Wesleyans of Canada, the 
Wesleyans of Eastern British America, and the 
" New Connection Methodists," who formed them- 
selves into the Methodist Church in Canada. They 

adopted a constitution, having a General Confer- 


338 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ence and six Annual Conferences. The report in 

1875 shows the aggregate numbers of these differ- 
ent bodies then constituting the Methodist Church 
of Canada. It has many fine churches in the leading 
cities, a strong institution of learning, a Book Con- 
cern, a periodical ably conducted, and has all the 
elements necessary for future expansion and growth. 


The following table presents the number of minis- 
ters and members in the foreign Methodist Churches : 

Itinerant Local Lay 

Ministers. Preacliers. Membei'S. 

British Wesleyan Methodists 2,589 13,720 467,583 

Irish Wesleyan Methodists 185 800 21,273 

French Wesleyan MethodistI 27 g6 2,030 

Australian t\^esleyan Methodists 362 750 67,912 

British Primitive Methodists 1,020 14,838 169,660 

Methodist New Connection Church. . . 158 125 25,837 

United Methodist Free Church 354 3,428 74,702 

Bible Christian Churches 274 1,747 26,878 

British Wesleyan Reform Union 538 104 8,093 

Methodist Church of Canada 1,004 1.027 102,887 

Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada. 247 201 23,012 

Other Methodists not included above. 380 420 26,000 

Total 6,038 37,256 1,015,867 

Add American Methodists 2,875126 

Totalin the world 3,890,993 

Review. 339 



A REVIEW of the events connected with the 
■^^^ Churches of the last century shows that, when 
compared with other Church organizations, Meth- 
odism has been pre-eminently successful. In the 
United States, the Congregationalist, Church of En- 
gland, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Dutch Reformed 
Churches were all strong in 1775. Each of them 
had colleges and seminaries in successful operation, 
training some young men for their ministry, and 
educating others for the professional walks of life. 
Some of these Churches, as the Congregational 
and the Church of England, were supported by 
systems of taxation levied upon the people of 
the different States. Methodism was not at that 
time a separate Church, its members receiving the 
sacraments chiefly from the ministers of the Church 
of England. 

To-day it ranks first among all the religious bod- 
ies in the number of its communicants, in the num- 
bei and capacity of its church buildings, and in the 
value of its Church property, as shown in the fol- 
lowing census tables published by the Government. 

340 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

All the branches of tfie leading denominations are 
included under the generic name : — 

United States Denominational Statistics. Census 1870. 

Denominations. Organiza- Edifices. Sittings. Property. 


Baptist (re^lar) 14,474 12,857 8,997,116 $39,229,221 

Baptist (other) 1,355 1,105 363,019 2,378,97T 

Chiistian 3,578 2,822 865,602 6,425 137 

Congregational 2,887 2,715 1,117.212 25,069,698 

Episcopal (Protestant) 2,835 2,601 991,051 36,514,549 

Evangelical Association 815 641 193,796 2.301,650 

Fiiends 692 662 224,664 3,939,560 

Jewish 1S9 152 73,205 5,155.234 

Lutheran 3,032 2,776 977.332 14,9! 7,747 

Methodist 25,273 21,337 6,528.209 69,654,121 

Miscellaneous 27 17 6.935 135,650 

Moravian (Unitas Fratrum) 72 67 25,700 709,100 

Mormon 189 171 87,838 656,750 

New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian) 90 61 18,755 869,700 

PresbvtiTiaii (i-.^'-iilur) 6,262 5,683 2,198,900 47,828,732 

Picpbyteiian (othi'i) 1,562 1,388 499,344 5,436,524 

PefornR'il riiurch in America 

(late Diitrli Krforined) 471 468 227,228 10,259,255 

Pctornu-fl Chunh in the United 

States (late German Keformed) 1,256 1,145 481,700 5,775,215 

Roman Catholic 4,127 8,806 1,990.514 60,985,566 

Second Advent 226 140 84,555 806,240 

Shaker 18 18 8,850 86,900 

Spiritualist 95 22 6,970 100,150 

Unitarian 831 810 155,471 6.282,675 

United Brethren in Christ 1,445 937 265,025 1,819,810 

Universalis*.. 719 602 210,884 5,692,325 

Unknown (Local Missions) 26 27 11,925 687,800 

Unknown (Union) 409 552 153,202 965,295 

All Denominations 72,459 63,082 21,665,062 $354,483,581 

According to these tables, more than one third 
of the Church organizations and buildings belonged 
(1870) to the Methodist Churches, nearly one third 
of the sittings, and not quite one fifth in value of the 
property. The numbers of communicants, as given 
by the leading denominations in 1875, are as follows : 

Methodists, all brarjches 2,875,126 

Baptists, " " 1,815,300 

Presbyterians, " 987,637 

Disciples, or Campbellite Baptists 500,000 

Lutherans 569,549 

Congregationalists 323,689 

Protestant Episcopalians 273,092 

Review. 341 

If we inquire why the Methodist Churches have 
thus, in their increase, exceeded all other denomina- 
tions, and have grown from an insignificant body to 
the first in rank, we answer. First, It is not because 
of any government aid or assistance. Methodism 
has never received special favors from any human 
government. Other denominations have been es- 
tablished by law, and have thus gained rank and 
prestige. This is the case with the Episcopalians in 
England, with the Presbyterians in Scotland, and 
with the Lutherans in Germany and Scandinavia. 
Of the leading Churches, the Baptists alone, besides 
the Methodists, have never received governmental 
favors. The idea of prestige, as derived from the 
Government, was early transferred to America. In 
New England the Congregationalists, being the 
dominant body, were supported in part by taxation 
long after the close of the revolutionary struggle. 
Even as late as the present century the Church law 
was so strictly enforced, that the only cow of a poor 
Methodist preacher was sold to pay the tax to sup- 
port the Congregationalist parson."^ 

In New York, Pennsylvania, and the Southern 
States generally, the Episcopal Church succeeded to 
the rank and position of the Church of England. 
Though the Church and State connection was sev- 
ered by the adoption of the Federal Constitution, 

* Merritt's "Liters." 

S4^ A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

yet, General Washingtoti having been a member of 
the Protestant Episcopal Church, and the early pres- 
idents being chiefly from Virginia, where that Church 
was strong and where they had been educated under 
its shadow, the chaplains of the army and navy, and 
the chief professors at West Point and Annapolis, 
were, with but few exceptions, appointed from the 
Episcopal Church. The Episcopal service was intro- 
duced into the national institutions, favored by the 
army officers, and was exclusively used on board the 
national ships. As late as 1844 the regulations of 
the navy required the chaplain to wear the gown. 
Thus the young men in the army and the navy, 
educated at the public expense, were drawn almost 
wholly under the infli»ence of the Protestant Epis- 
copal Church. 

The same tendency has been manifested in the 
selection of men for high official position, and for the 
management of public trusts. Such is the power 
of precedent, and so easily can men in office perpet- 
uate their influehce, that to this day the leading of- 
fices in the gift of the Federal Government are filled 
by adherents of the Protestant Episcopal Church 
far beyond the ratio of their membership. The 
same remark applies, in part, to the Congregation- 
alists and Presbyterians, who, in certain sections of 
the Union, early occupied prominent positions. So, 
too, institutions and trusts founded by the State 

Review. 34^ 

or supported by general contributions, and legiti- 
mately belonging to the whole people, have by the 
constitution of the trustees passed virtually under 
denominational control. In this way the public 
moneys have been indirectly applied to advance sec 
tarian interests. 

Secondly. Methodism has not grown, as in com 
parison with other denominations, by immigration 
In 1775 there were but thirty-five thousand Method- 
ists in the world, except the few in America. Hence 
the immigration from England, Scotland, Ireland, 
and Germany, was almost wholly composed of those 
who had been brought up under the influence of other 
denominations. These were divided chiefly among 
the Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, 
Lutherans, and German Reformed. Up to the present 
period, while Methodism has been gaining ground in 
England, yet, as compared with the whole popula^ 
tion in England, Ireland, and Scotland, not one in 
ten, probably not more than one in fifteen, of the 
immigrants would be a Methodist. Thus the increase 
through immigration has been overwhelmingly in 
favor of the other principal denominations. As in 
reference to government favor, so in this, the Bap 
lists have gained less proportionally than others. 

Thirdly. It has not been through superior educa 
tional facilities that Methodism has influenced the 
public mind. As we have already seen, the early 

344 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

colleges were all in tke interest of other Churches. 
Almost as soon as the Methodists began to establish 
colleges, the practice of giving State aid, to any 
considerable amount, was abandoned, and the work 
which Methodism has done in the line of education 
has been almost exclusively from its own individual 
offerings. We have also seen, that of its present 
colleges no one was founded before 1830; and, un- 
til very recently, the most of the institutions have 
been not only young, but Comparatively unendowed. 
As a result, the great majority of teachers have 
been furnished from the schools of other denomina- 
tions, and, very generally, their influence has been 
thrown against Methodism. Its doctrines have been 
misrepresented, its ysages have been ridiculed, and, 
so far as practicable, its membership has not been 
selected for positions of leading influence in educa- 
tional institutions. 

It is a very singular fact that the two leading de- 
nominations, Methodists and Baptists, who together 
furnish the religious instruction for almost, if not 
entirely, half the population, should not be admit- 
ted to a just equality in public positions. It is one 
of the fruits of the strength of organizations. The 
older denominations had the power in their hands ; 
they controlled the organizations in their early his- 
tory, and have trained up others to succeed them. 
We write not this now complainingly. There may 

Review. ;343 

be times when it would be proper to make an ap- 
peal, and the data are abundant for that purpose; 
but we allude to these matters only to show that 
the increase oi the Methodist Church has not been 
by any external or collateral agencies. 

Fourth. We must, then, seek for the reasons of 
the remarkable increase of the Methodist Church, 
either in the superiority of its doctrines, the effi- 
ciency of its organization, or in the piety, earnest- 
ness, and activity of its ministers and members. 
We have already noticed the doctrines as being 
evangelical and liberal, yet they are shared by other 
Churches which have not grown so rapidly. They 
He, however, at the foundation of success, and it 
is only on the basis of the doctrine of a free and 
full atonement, preached as available to every hu- 
man being, that the superstructure of the Church 
could have been raised. No doubt a large propor- 
tion of its success, if not the principal part, has been 
through the deep piety of its members, and the 
earnestness and activity manifested in their religious 
assemblies. Whatever may be said contemptuously 
of enthusiasm, and however men may deride relig- 
ious feeling as fanatical, one fact remains incontro- 
vertible — men seek the Churches because they need 
religious comfort. They will go where they believe 
God manifests himself by imparting his Spirit most 
fully to his followers ; and the earnestness in wor 

34^ A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ship, the zeal which fallows from a lively faith, the 
conviction of the unseen, which nerved the early 
Methodists for their work and strengthened them 
to endure reproach and scorn, draw the hearts of 
men when, forgetting earthly distinctions and earth- 
ly motives, they seek alone the pardon of sin and 
communion with God. This deep religious interest, 
manifested in revival scenes, in quarterly, protract- 
ed, and camp meetings, has been eminently power- 
ful in drawing large numbers to the Methodist 

Lastly. As compared with the other evangelical 
Churches, and especially with the other branches of 
Methodism, much must be ascribed to the form of 
government of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
The Wesleyans in England were organized nearly 
thirty years in advance of the Methodists in the 
United States. They had able leaders and superior 
facilities, though they had also the obstacles of an 
Established Church and of an overshadowing nobil- 
ity. They now number 406,054 in Great Britain 
and Ireland, in a population of about 30,000,000. 
The Methodist Episcopal Church alone, in a popula- 
tion of from 40,000,000 to 44,OvX"),ooo, numbers over 
1,500,000. Methodism in England has a great ad- 
vantage over that in Ireland or In France, where 
affiliated Conferences were estabhi hed under the 
shadow of the English Conference In Canada it 

Review. 347 

has grown more rapidly, but yet, in proportion to 
the population, it is not so strong as in the United 
States. In Australia, also, its growth has been 
rapid; but even there, under the most favorable 
circumstances, it has not obtained the ratio to the 
population that Methodism holds in this country. 

The following table exhibits the relative growth 
of British Methodism, including Canada, Australia, 
and its missions, and that of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, embracing both members and probationers • 

British American Total 

Year, Methodism. Methodism. 

1775 34.997 3,148 38.145 

1785 52,496 18,000 70.496 

1795 99.305 60,291 159.596 

1805 140,584 119.945 260,529 

1815 230,951 211,165 442,116 

1825 283,057 348.195 631,252 

1835 386,357 652,528 1,038,885 

1845 468,313 1.139,587 1,607,900 

1855 435.867 799.431* 1,235,298 

1865 562,495 929.259 1,491.754 

1875 661,694 1,580,559 2,242,253 

If we turn to the branches of Methodism, such as 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the 
African Methodist Episcopal Church, which have the 
same form of government, we find activity and pros- 
perity in all their movements ; while in the Meth- 
odist Protestant Church, the Methodist Church, and 
the Wesleyan Methodists, we find comparatively 

* The separation of the South occv red in 1845-6. 

348 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

little progress ; and, to some extent, this is the ca;5€ 
with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 
whose form of government is intermediate between 
the two families. The distinction between the non- 
episcopal branches of Methodism in the United 
States and the others is clearly marked. Wherever 
the episcopacy and the presiding eldership have 
been abandoned, the connectional bond has been 
loosened, and sooner or later difficulties and serious 
losses have occurred. Wherever these have been 
preserved, in the midst of difficulties, the Churches 
have gone forward. 

We may then safely attribute the growth of the 
IMethodist Episcopal Church, first, to her doctrines ; 
secondly, to the pierty and zeal of her ministers and 
members ; and, thirdly, to her form of Church gov- 
ernment, which unites and unifies the different 
parts of the country ; especially is this seen in her 
missionary fields. The English Methodists failed to 
hold their affiliated Conferences, and, one after an- 
other, seeks distinct government. The 'Methodist 
Episcopal Church, in advance of all other Protest- 
ant denominations, has organized, under one govern- 
ment, her Conferences in the four quarters of the 
globe, and maintains, through her administration, 
her membership under the same forms and order, 
in India, Liberia, and Germany, as in the United 
States. Doubtless the appliances of Methodism 

Review. 349 

may be improved and enlarged. From the begin- 
ning, while the system of the fathers has been pre- 
served, new fields of enterprise have been opened 
and new agencies employed. The unity of the or- 
ganization has remained undisturbed, and has proved 
itself adequate to reach, through its regular agencies, 
to the extremities of the globe. 

Dr. Dixon, one of the leading minds of Wesleyan 
Methodism, well said, that we must look to American 
Methodism for the expression of Mr. Wesley's mind. 
Nor should we fail to note that its success has not 
been owing to any lowering of the moral standard, 
or catering to the tastes or prejudices of society. 
The voice of the Church has been clearly heard in 
the denunciation of vice in every form. In its earli- 
est period, when it stood almost alone, it proclaimed 
unwavering and unalterable hostility to slavery. It 
sacrificed in many instances the favor of wealth and 
influence rather than to forbear its testimony. It 
suffered the loss of more than a third of its ministers 
and members rather than relax its discipline. It 
stood by the Union in its darkest hours, though in 
some localities it suffered thereby the loss of influen- 
tial members, who sought, in some other Churches, 
a pulpit that attacked no vice and encouraged no 

On the question of intemperance it is equally 
pronounced. It early took bold and advanced 

3 so A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

ground. Its rules fofbid the use, manufacture, or 
sale of intoxicating liquors, as beverages. In the 
pulpit and in the rostrum its ministers freely de- 
nounce the traffic in all its forms, though thereby 
members are driven from its folds, or the means and 
influence it might otherwise gain are thrown into 
the hands of other denominations. 

On the observance of the Sabbath, and on all 
great moral issues, its members and friends are found 
side by side with the firmest friends of pure religion 
and of sound morality. 

What Methodism has accomplished for the masses, 
both in England and America, no pen can adequately 
portray. The ablest English writers now acknowl- 
edge the obligations* of that country to John Wes- 
ley, who, in an age of infidelity, upheld the standard 
of the cross, and who, despite of all Church restric- 
tions, carried the glad tidings of the Gospel to the 
suffering and perishing poor. Macaulay says, he 
" was a man whose eloquence and logical acuteness 
might have rendered him eminent in literature ; 
whose genius for government was not inferior to 
that of Richelieu." Buckle styles him " the first 
of theological statesmen ; " and Cardinal Manning 
bears testimony to his service in staying the tide of 
infidelity. Westminster Abbey, though late, yields 
him a place among the sages and benefactors of 
the land. 

Review. ZS^ 

Who can tell what would have been the condition 
of western society, as it poured its streams oi pop- 
ulation over mountains and valleys, if the itinerant 
preacher had not accompanied or soon followed 
them? Plad no minister preached until the towns 
and cities were built, and until congregations were 
formed and called, who can describe the moral 
vtcsolation? Ministers may stand to-day in the 
pulpits of fine city churches, and declaim about 
apostolical succession ; they may deny the validity 
of the ministerial orders of the heroic itinerant 
preachers, and consign them and their congregations 
to the uncovenanted mercies of God ; but the thou- 
sands of happy and useful Christians on earth, and 
the thousands of the redeemed in heaven, who, but 
for them, had not heard the name of Jesus, will rise 
up and call them blessed. The blooming fields once 
a wilderness; the towns and cities of yesterday, 
which rival in population the old cities of Europe; 
the masses of an industrious, thriving, well-ordered, 
and happy population ; the beautiful and thronged 
school-houses, the numerous and tasteful churches ; 
and the multitudes of devout worshipers, all attest 
the power of the Gospel which was proclaimed in 
their midst. To them it was a gospel of humanity, 
in strengthening them for their labors, and comfort- 
ing them in their sorrows ; it was a gospel of peace, 
in revealing a Saviour full of compassion and ready 

352 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

to forgive ; it was e gospel of holy triumph, tha 
pointed the dying inmate of the lonely cabin to tht 
mansions prepared by the Son of God. 

Methodism is sure of the past century. Its fathers 
are crowned in bliss, and its sons are marshaled ir 
the field. If they valiantly fight the great battles o: 
humanity, if they tread fearlessly the path of duty 
if they preserve uncorrupted the doctrines of the 
Gospel, if they seek to bear the image of the blessed 
Saviour, and if they preserve the cardinal principles 
of their Church polity, the coming century will be 
full of holy triumphs and of glorious achievements, 
Every land shall be beautified with its temples, and 
in every language shall its prayers and songs ascend 
before the throne ^f God. 



I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity, 

There is but one living- and true God, everlasting, v^ithout 
body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness ; the 
maker and preserver of all things, visible and invisible. And 
in unity of this Godhead there are three persons, of one sub- 
stance, power, and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy 

II. Of the Word, or Son of God, who was made very man. 

The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eter- 
nal God, of one substance with the Father, took man's nature 
in the womb of the blessed virgin ; so that two whole and per- 
fect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood, were 
joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is 
one Christ, very God and very man, who truly suffered, was 
crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and 
to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for the 
actual sins of men. 

III. Of the Resurrection of Christ. 

Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his 
body, with all things appertaining to the perfection of man's 
nature, wherewith he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth 
until he return to judge all men at the last day. 

IV. Of the Holy Ghost. 
The Holy (^host, proceeding from the Father and the Son, 
is ol one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the 
Son, ver>' and eternal God. 

354 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

V. The Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation. 

The Holy Scriptures contain all tl.ings necessary to salva- 
tion ; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved 
thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be be- 
lieved as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessaiy 
to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture, we do un- 
derstand those canonical books of the Old and New Testa- 
ment, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church, 

The Names of the Canonical Books. 

Genesis ; Exodus ; Leviticus ; Numbers ; Deuteronomy ; 
Joshua ; Judges ; Ruth ; The First Book of Samuel ; The 
Second Book of Samuel ; The First Book of Kings ; The 
Second Book of Kings ; The First Book of Chronicles ; The 
Second Book of Chronicles ; The Book of Ezra ; The Book of 
Nehemiah ; The Book of Esther ; The Book of Job ; The 
Psalms ; The Proverbs ; Ecclesiastes, or the Preacher ; Can- 
tica, or Song of Solomon ; Four Prophets the greater ; Twelve 
Prophet^ the less. All the books of the New Testament, as 
they are commonly received, we do receive and account ca- 

VI. Of the Old Testament. 

The Old Testament is not contrary to the New ; for both in 
the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to man- 
kind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and 
man, being both God and man. Wherefore they are not to 
be heard who feign that the old fathers did look only for 
transitory promises. Although the law given from God by 
Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, doth not bind Chris- 
tians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity be re- 
ceived in any commonwealth ; yet, notwithstanding, no Chris- 
tian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the command- 
ments which are called moral. 

Appendix. 355 

VII. Of Original or Birth Sin. 
Oiiginal sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the 
Pelagians do vainly talk,) but it is the corruption of the nature 
of eveiy man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of 
Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteous- 
ness, and ot his own nature inclined to evil, and that con- 

VIII. Of Free Will. 

The condition of man aftc^r the fall of Adam is such that he 
cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength 
and works, to faith, and calling upon God ; wherefore we have 
no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, 
without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may 
have a good will, and working with us, when we have that 
good will. 

IX. Of the Justification of Man. 

We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit 
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our 
own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by 
faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of 

X. Of Good Works. 

Although good works, which are the fruits of faith, and fol- 
low after justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure 
the severity of God's judgments; yet are they pleasing and 
acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out of a true and lively 
faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently 
known as a tree is discerned by its frait. 

XI. Of Works of Supererogation. 
Voluntary works, besides, over, and above God's command- 
ments, which are called works of supererogation, cannot be 
taught without arrogancy and impiety. For by tfiem men do 

356 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they 
are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake than of 
bounden duty is required : whereas Christ saith plainly, When 
ye have done all that is commanded you, say. We are unprofit- 
able servants. 

XII. Of Sin after JustificaHon. 

Not every sin willingly committed after justification is he 
sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore, 
the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into 
sin after justification : after we have received the Holy Ghost, 
we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and, by the 
grace of God, rise again and amend our lives. And therefore 
they are to be condemned who say they can no more sin as 
long as they live here ; or deny the place of forgiveness to 
such as truly repent. 

XIII. Of the Church. 

The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful 
men, in which the pure word of God is preached, and the 
sacraments duly administered, according to Christ's ordinance, 
in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same. 

XIV. Of Purgatory, 

The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardon, wor- 
shiping and adoration as well of images as of relics, and also 
invocation of saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and 
grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the 
word of God. 

XV. Of sneaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as 

the People understand. 

It is a thing plainly repugnant to the word of God^ and the 
custom of the primitive Church, to have public prayer in the 
Church, or to minister the sacraments, in a tongue not under- 
stood by the people. 

Appendix. 357 

XVI. Of the Sacraments. 

Sacraments, ordained of Christ, are not only badges or 
tokens of Christian men's profession ; but rather they are cer- 
tain signs of grace, and God's good will toward us, by the 
which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, 
but also strengthen and confirm our faith in him. 

There are two sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the 
Gospel ; that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord. 

Those five commonly called sacraments, that is to say, con- 
firmation, penance, orders, matrimony, and extreme unction, 
are not to be counted for sacraments of the Gospel, being such 
as have partly grown out of the corrupt following of the apos- 
tles ; and partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but 
yet have not the like nature of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, 
because they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained 
of God. 

The sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed 
upon, or to be carried about; but that we should duly use 
them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they 
have a wholesome effect or operation ; but they that receive 
them unworthily, purchase to themselves condemnation, as St, 
Paul saith. i Cor. xi, 29. 

XVIL Of Baptism. 

Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of dif- 
ference, whereby Christians are distinguished from others that 
are not baptized ; but it is also a sign of regeneration, or the 
new birth. The baptism of young children is to be retained 
in the Church. 

XVI IL Of the Lord's Supper. 
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that 
Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, 
but rather is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death ; 
insomuch that, to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith re- 
ceive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the 

358 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

body of Christ ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking 
of the blood of Christ. 

Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread 
and wine in the Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by Holy 
Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, over- 
throweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion 
to many superstitions. 

The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, 
only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the means 
whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Sup- 
per, is faith. 

The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's 
ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped. 

XIX. Of both Kinds, 

The cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the lay people ; 
for both the parts of the Lord's Supper, by Christ's ordinance 
and commandment, ought to be administered to all Christians 
alike. ' 

XX. Of the one Oblation of Christ, finished upon the Cross. 

The offering of Christ, once made, is that perfect redemp- 
tion, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole 
world, both original and actual ; and there is none other satis- 
faction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifice of 
masses, in the which it is commonly said that the priest doth 
offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of 
pain or guilt, is a blasphemous fable, and dangerous deceit. 

XXL Of the Marriage of Minister s. 

The ministers of Christ are not commanded by God's law 
either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstam from mar- 
riage : therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Chris- 
tians, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the 
same to serve best to godliness. 

Appendix. 359 

XXII. Of the Rites and Ceremonies of Churches. 

It is not necessary that rites and ceremonies should in all 
places be the same, or exactly alike ; for they have been always 
different, and may be changed according to the diversity of 
countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be or- 
dained against God's word. Whosoever, through his private 
judgment, willingly and purposely doth openly break the rites 
and ceremonies of the Church to which he belongs, which are 
not repugnant to the word of God, and are ordained and ap- 
proved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, that 
others may fear to do the like, as one that offendeth against 
the common order of the Church, and woundeth the con- 
sciences of weak brethren. 

Every particular Church may ordain, change, or abolish rites 
and ceremonies, so that all things may be done to edification. 

XXIII. Of the Rulers of the United States of America. 
The President, the Congress, the General Assemblies, the 
Governors, and the Councils of State, as the delegates of the 
people, are the rulers of the United States of America, accord- 
ing to the division of power made to them by the Constitution 
of the United States, and by the Constitutions of their respect- 
ive States. And the said States are a sovereign and independ- 
ent nation, and ought not to be subject to any foreign juris- 

XXIV. Of Christian Men's Goods. 

The riches and goods of Christians are not common, as 
touching the right, title, and possession of the same, as some 

* As far as it respects civil affairs, we believe it the duty of Christians, 
oad especially all Christian ministers, to be subject to the supreme au- 
thority of the country where they may reside, and to use all laudable 
means to enjoin obedience to the powers that be; and therefore it 
is expected that all our preachers and people, who may be under the 
British or any other government, will behave themselves as peaceable 
und orderly subjects. 

360 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

do falsely boast. Notwitlkstanding, every man ought, of such 
things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, ac- 
cording to his ability. 

XXV. Of a Christian Man's Oath. 
As we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden 
Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ and James his apos- 
tle ; so we judge that the Christian religion doth not prohibit, 
but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth, in a 
cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the 
prophet's teaching, in justice, judgment, and truth. 



(i) In the latter end of the year 1739, eight or ten persons 
came to Mr. Wesley in London, who appeared to be deeply 
convinced of sin, and earnestly groaning for redemption. They 
desired (as did two or three more the next day) that he would 
spend some time with them in prayer, and advise them how to 
flee from the wrath to come, which they saw continually hang- 
ing over their heads. That he might have more time for this 
great work, he appointed a day when they might all come 
together ; which from thenceforward they did every week, 
namely, on Thursday, in the evening. To these and as many 
more as desired to join with them, (for their number increased 
daily,) he gave those advices from time to time which he judged 
most npedful for them ; and they always concluded their meet- 
ing with prayer suited to their several necessities. 

(2) This was the rise of the United Society, first in Em ope, 
and then in America. Such a society is no other than a " com- 
pany of men having the form and seeking the power of godli' 
ness, united in order to pray together to receive the word of 

Appendix. 361 

i,xhortation, and to watch over one another in love, that they 
may help each other to work out their salvation. 

(3) That it may the more easily be discerned whether they 
are indeed working- out their own salvation, each society is di- 
divided into smaller companies, called classes, according to- 
their respective places of abode. There are about twelve per- 
sons in a class, one of whom is styled the leader. It is his duty, 

I. To see each person in his class once a week at least ; in 

1. To inquire how their souls prosper. 

2. To advise, reprove, comfort, or exhort, as occasion may 

3. To receive what they are willing to give toward the relief 
of the preachers, Church, and poor.* 

II. To meet the ministers and the Stewards of the Society 
once a week ; in order, 

1. To inform the minister of any that are sick, or of any that 
walk disorderly, and will not be reproved. 

2. To pay the stewards what they have received of their sev- 
eral classes in the week preceding. 

(4) There is only one condition previously required of those 
who desire admission into these societies, a " desire to flee from 
the wrath to come, and to be saved from their sins." But 
wherever this is really fixed in the soul, it will be shown by 
its fruits. It is therefore expected of all who continue 
therein, that they should continue to evidence their desire of 

First, By doing no harm, by avoiding evil of every kind, es- 
pecially that Vt hich is most generally practiced ; such as 

The taking of the name of God in vain. 

The profaning the day of the Lord, either by doing ordinary 
work therein, or by buying or selling. 

Drunkenness, buying or selling spirituous liquors, or drink- 
Ir.g them, unless in cases of extreme necessity. 

* This part refers to towns and cities, wliere tlie poor are generally 
riunierous, and Church expenses considerable. 

362 A Hundred Years of Methodism 

Slaveholding ; buymg 01* selling slaves. 

Fighting, quarreling, brawling-, brother going to law with 
brother ; returning- evil for evil, or railing for railing ; the tcsing 
many words in buying or selling. 
* The buying or selling goods that have not paid the duty. 

The giving or taking thijigs on usury, that is, unlawful! 

Uncharitable or unprofitable conversation ; particularly- 
speaking evil of magistrates or ministers. 

Doing to others as we would not they should do unto us. 

Doing what we know is not for the glory of God ; as. 

The putting on of gold and costly apparel. 

The taking such diversions as cannot be used in the name 
of the Lord Jesus. 

The singing those songs, or reading those books, which do 
not tend to the knowledge or love of God. 

Softness and needless self-indulgence. 

Laying up treasure upon earth. 

Borrowing without a probability of paying ; or taking up 
goods without a probability of paying for them. 

(5) It is expected of all who continue in these societies that 
they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation, 

Secondly, By doing good ; by being in every kind merciful 
after their power ; as they have opportunity, doing good of 
every possible sort, and, as far as possible, to all men. 

To their bodies, of the ability which God giveth, by giving 
food to the hungr}^ by clothing the naked, by visiting or help- 
ing them that are sick or in prison. 

To their souls, by instructing, reproving, or exhorting all we 
have any intercourse with ; trampling under foot that enthusi- 
astic doctrine, that " we are not to do good unless our hearts 
be free to it." 

By doing good, especially to them that are of the household 
of faith, or groaning so to be ; employing them preferably to 
others ; buying one of another ; helping each other in business ; 
and so much the more because the world will love its own, and 
them 07ily. 

Appendix, 363 

By all possible diligence dindi frugality, that the Gospel be 
not blamed. 

By running with patience the race which is set before them, 
denying themselves and taking up their cross daily ; submitting 
to bear the reproach of Christ, to be as the filth and offscour- 
ing of the world ; and looking that men should say all manner 
of evil of them falsely for the Lord's sake. 

(6) It is expected of all who desire to continue in these so- 
cieties that they should continue to evidence their desire of 

Thirdly, By attending upon all the ordinances of God ; such 
The public worship of God. 

The ministry of the word, either read or expounded : 
The Supper of the Lord : 
Family and private prayer : 
Searching the Scriptures : and 
Fasting or abstinence. 

(7) These are the General Rules of our societies; all of 
which we are taught of God to observe, even in his v^ritten 
word, which is the only rule, and the sufficient rule, both of 
our faith and practice. And all these we know his Spirit writes 
on truly awakened hearts. If there be any among us who ob- 
serve them not, M^ho habitually break any of them, let it be 
known unto them who watch over that soul as they who must 
give an account. We will admonish him of the error of his 
ways. We will bear with him for a season. But if then he 
repent not, he hath no more place among us. We have de- 
livered our own souls. 

364 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 


The following lists were compiled chiefly by Rev. 
Dr. De Puy, and published in the Methodist Almanac 
for 1875. The elections for 1876 have been added : — 

Book Agents at New York. — 1789, John Dickins. 
1799, Ezekiel Cooper. 1804, E. Cooper, John Wilson. 1808, 
John Wilson, Daniel Hitt. 1812, D. Hitt, Thomas Ware. 
1 816, Joshua Soule, Thomas Mason. 1820, Nathan Bangs, T. 
Mason. 1824, N. Bangs, John Emory. 1828, John Emory, 
Beverly Waugh. 1832, B. Waugh, T. Mason. 1836, T. Ma- 
son, George Lane. 1840, T. Mason, G. Lane. 1844, G. Lane, 
C. B, Tippett. 1848, G, Lane, Levi Scott. 1852, Thomas Carl- 
ton, Zebulon Phillips. 1856, T. Carlton, James Porter, i860, 
T. Carlton, J. Porter. 1864, T. Carlton, J. Porter. i868,T. Carl- 
ton, John Lanahan. California, Eleazer Thomas. 1872, Reuben 
Nelson, John M. Phillips. 1876, R. Nelson, J. M. Phillips. 

Book Agents at Cincinnati. — 1820, Martin Ruter. 
1824, M. Ruter. 1828, Charles HoUiday. 1832, C. Holliday, 
John F. Wright. 1836, J. F. Wright, Leroy Swormstedt. 1840, 
J. F. Wright, L. Swormstedt. 1844, L. Swormstedt, John T. 
Mitchell. 1848, L. Swormstedt, John H. Power. 1852, L. 
Swormstedt, Adam Poe. 1856, L. Swormstedt, A. Poe. i860, 
A. Poe, Luke Hitchcock. 1864, A. Poe, L. Hitchcock, i868j 
L. Hitchcock, J, M. Walden. 1872, L. Hitchcock, J. M. Wal- 
den. 1876, L. Hitchcock, J. M. Walden. 

Missionary Secretaries. — 1836, Nathan Bangs. 1840, 
Nathan Bangs, W. Capers, E. R. Ames. 1844, C. Pitman. 
1848, C. Pitman. 1852, John P. Durbin. 1856, J. P, Durbin, 
i860, John P. Durbin, W. L. Harris. 1864, J. P. Durbin, 
W. L. Harris, J. T. Trimble. 1868, J. P. Durbin, W. L. Harris. 
1872, R. L. Dashiell, T. M. Eddy, (died October 7, 1874,) 
J. M. Reid, and J. P. Durbin, Honorary Secretary. 1876, 
R. L. Dashiell, J. M. Reid. 

Appendix. 3^5 

Methodist Quarterly Review.— The new and enlarged 
series of the "Review " was recommended by the General Con- 
ference of 1840. Previously the editorship was generally at- 
tached to that of "The Christian Advocate" at New York. 
1840, George Peck. 1844, George Peck. 1848, 1852, John 
M'Clintock. 1856, i860, 1864, 1868, 1872, 1876, Daniel D. 

The Christian Advocate, New York.— 1828, Nathan 
Bangs. 1832, J. P. Durbin. 1836, S. Luckey, John A. Collins. 
1840, Thomas E. Bond, George Coles. 1844, T. E. Bond. 
1848, (Abel Stevens, dechned,) George Peck. 1852, Thomas 
E. Bond. 1856, Abel Stevens, i860, Edward Thomson* 
1864, 1868, 1872, Daniel Curry. 1876, Charles H. Fowler. 

Sunday-School Advocate. — 1844, 1848, 1852, Daniel P. 
Kidder.- 1856, i860, .1864, 1868, Daniel Wise. 1872, 1876, 
John H. Vincent. 

Sunday- School Journal. — i860, 1864, Daniel Wise. 
1868, 1872, 1876, John H. Vincent. 

Ladies' Repository.— 1840, Leonidas L. Hamline. 1844, 
Edward Thomson. 1848, Benjamin E. Tefft. 1852, William 
C. Larrabee. 1856, i860, Davis W. Clark, 1864, 1868, Isaac 
W. Wiley. 1872, Erastus Wentworth. 1876, Daniel Curry. 

Western Christian Advocate.— 1836, Charles Elliott, 
W. R. Phillips. 1840, C. Elliott, L. L. Hamline. 1844, C. El- 
liott, Leonidas L. Hamline. 1848, Matthew Simpson. 1852, 
C. Elliott. 1856, i860, Calvin Kingsley. 1864, John M. Reid. 
1868, S. M. Merrill. 1872, 1876, Francis S. Hoyt. 

North-western Christian Advocate. — 1852, 1856, J. 
V. Watson, i860, 1864, Thomas M. Eddy. 1868, John M. 
Reid. 1872, 1876, Arthur Edwards. 

Northern Christian Advocate. — 1844, Nelson Rounds. 
1848, William Hosmer. 1852, 1856, Freeborn G. Hibbard. 
]86o, Isaac S. Bingham. 1864, 1868, 1872, (Jesse T. Peck, de- 
clined,) Dallas D. Lore, died June 20, 1875. 1876, O. H. Warren. 
California Christian Advocate. — 1852, S. D. Sim- 
mons. 1856, i860, 1864, Eleazer D. Thomas. 1868, 1872, 
1876, Henry C. Benson. 

366 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 

Pittsburgh Christian Advocate. — 1844, 1848, W. 
Hunter. 1852, Homer J^ Clarke. 1856, Isaac N. Baird. 
i860, 1864, 1868, S. H. Nesbitt. 1872, William Hunter. 
1876, Alfred Wheeler. 

Pacific Christian Advocate. — 1856, i860, Thomas H. 
Pearne. 1864, (S. D. Brown, declined,) Henry C. Benson. 
1868, 1872, Isaac S. Dillon. 1876, John H. Acton. 

Central Christian Advocate. — 1856, Joseph Brooks. 
i860, Charles Elliott. 1864, 1868, Benjamin F. Crary. 
1872. 1876, B. St. James Fry. 

The Methodist Advocate. — 1868, E. Q. Fuller, (ap- 
pointed.) 1872, Nelson E. Cobleigh. 1876, E. Q. Fuller. 

The Christian Apologist (German.) — 1840, 1844, 
1848, 1852, 1856, i860, 1864, 1868, 1872, 1876, William Nast. 

German Family Magazine, and German Sunday-School 
Publications. — 1872, 1876, Henry Liebhart. 

South-western Advocate. — 1876, J. H, Hartzell. 











Members and 



• • • • 


• • • • 








































Appendix. 35^ 










































































Local Mombers and 

Preachers. Probationers. 






.... 43,262 






• • • • 65,980 




.... 66,608 

d. 1,035 

• • . • 60,291 

d. 6,317 

• • • • 56,664 

d. 3,627 

• • • • 58,663 


•••• 60,169 




• • . • 64,894 






. . ♦ . 104,070 












• . . . 163,038 




-... 184,567 








• ... 211,165 












. .. 281,148 


368 A Hundred Years of Methodism. 








1 841 














Members and 

Tn /*?"AnRA_ 






• • • • 




• • • * 




• • • • 




• • • • 




• « • • 




• • • • 




• • • • 




• • • • 




• • • • 




• • * • 




• • • • 




• • • • 




• • • • 




• • • • 




• • • • 


d. 1,850 










, 5.856 






d. 160,361 




















d. 31,769 




d. 495,288 




d. 12,741 















. 721,804 






















Appendix. 3 09 






















Members and 
























d. 1,924 




<^. 45.617 




d, 19,512 



















1. 255-115